NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The stakes are certainly high for those that secure the states online infrastructure. “Imagine – any state agency – locked down and unable to do business. You can see how devastating it can be,” said Gregory Mays. 

A breach at any level can be catastrophic, potentially costing millions and we were certainly curious when we spoke to Mays, Tennessee Homeland Security Director, as to where the online threat falls in state priorities.

“When I when I talk to my counterparts in the other states, the Homeland Security directors or Homeland Security advisors, we get together at conferences, and we get together virtually and talk. And we’ve been asked recently, what’s your number one security concern. And across the board, almost without exception, it’s cyber.”

The targeting of state systems is increasing as often safeguards are not as stout as the private sector. That’s why in 2019 the state created the Tennessee Cybersecurity Advisory Council. Homeland Security, with every branch of state government has a seat at the table. It’s just one effort to stay ahead of threats, mays said. “It has members from all across the Tennessee State Government cooperating together because cyber touches everything we do, right, it’s in it’s in every bit of state government, and we have to have statewide policies, statewide procedures that that ensure we’re on solid ground.”

The councils work is focused on prevention through education and awareness, putting in place practices that may sound familiar. “Some of the best way to prevent cybercrime are really some of the most simple things, you know, two factor authentication, keeping your computer up to date, using passwords that are complex, and not just, you know, 123456 or whatever. All of these things and people are starting to they’ve heard it over and over again. But you would be so surprised at how many people don’t do it.”

Vulnerability and dangers continue to threaten home computers and phones everywhere. See what you need to do to stay safe from ransomware attacks in our Special Reports ‘Cyberattacks Hitting Home’ all day Tuesday on WKRN News 2 in every newscast and on

Offsite backups and constant virus software updates are also encouraged at all level.