NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee will receive millions of dollars to respond to and combat hackers. The money coming from the Bi-partisan Infrastructure Bill will be used to deter cyberattacks and modernize security systems.
The Biden administration said the additional money to fend off cyberattacks is to make sure they’re hardening the grid. “We mean hardening it from cyber attackers, hardening against devices — the attacks that actually bring down entire regions often,” Jennifer Granholm, Energy Secretary, said.
Tennessee will get $21 million from the $1 billion appropriated to states for grants. The federal government is also supplying $100 million to increase the federal government’s ability to respond to hacks.
But cybersecurity experts say that the money falls short of what is needed here in Tennessee. “It’s definitely not enough,” Dr. Chris Simmons said.
Simmons, an Associate Professor of Cyber Security at Lipscomb University, said responsibly responding to cybersecurity needs public and private input. “It should be a collective thing right, universities, researchers, government for profit non for profit we need to create some level of a consortium that we can really share our ideas in ways to combat some of these cyberattacks.”
If not, according to many experts including Simmons, attacks will continue to happen.
“I’ve considered this for the last 20 years that from a standpoint we’re living in the wild wild west,” Adam Bell, president of Sublime Computer Services in Nashville said.
With ransomware on the rise, training will be key. “I can spend all of my money on all the technical things, I can get you the best software antivirus, I can get you firewalls I can get you all the computers to do everything they’re supposed to do and they can work perfectly but if a user gives away their user name and password and their multi-factor authentication then it doesn’t matter what I put in place,” Bell said.
According to Tennessee’s Finance and Administration department, the agency that oversees the central technology division, says they have not received the money yet and were unable to answer any additional questions.