Today, Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order No. 254 formally establishing the State of North Carolina Joint Cybersecurity Task Force.
The N.C. Department of Information Technology, N.C. Emergency Management, the N.C. National Guard and the N.C. Local Government Information Systems Association Cybersecurity Strike Team make up the Task Force. It currently provides incident coordination, resource support and technical assistance to state and local government agencies and educational entities, like schools and universities, that have been the target of significant cybersecurity incidents.
The order comes as cybersecurity threats are increasing in volume and sophistication, requiring a need to understand the threat landscape to prevent attacks and to protect the state’s information technology networks and critical infrastructure.
"The invasion of Ukraine and the threats of Russian inspired cyberattacks remind us of the cybersecurity threats that already exist every day," said Governor Cooper. "It’s more important than ever for us to work together proactively to prevent these crimes and respond quickly when they occur and this Task Force is helping us do that."
The cybersecurity of North Carolina’s critical infrastructure will be enhanced through greater interaction between the Task Force and public and private stakeholders to identify and respond to cybersecurity threats.
In the order, North Carolina public and private sector CIKR (Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources) entities are strongly encouraged to work with the Task Force to help identify any vulnerabilities and to report significant cybersecurity incidents to the Task Force to limit the impacts from an incident and to coordinate an effective response.
“These measures allow NCDIT and the Task Force to have a more realistic picture about what is going on around the state to better protect and defend North Carolina,” State Chief Information Officer and NCDIT Secretary James A. Weaver said.
“This community effort to build and maintain strong cybersecurity practices and presence is important to protecting the critical infrastructure that North Carolina residents rely on every day,” said State Public Safety Secretary Eddie M. Buffaloe Jr. “Systems that provide communications, energy, transportation, water and wastewater treatment are all critical public resources that need to remain protected from all hazards.”
Other state agencies, federal agencies and additional stakeholders may partner with the Task Force as needed.