Ohio Cyber Reserve member deployed in cybersecurity response
Story by Stephanie Beougher, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (02/18/21)
For the first time, a member of the Ohio Cyber Reserve was deployed on state active duty under the authority of Gov. Mike DeWine to assist in a cybersecurity breach. The response was part of an integrated Ohio National Guard and state government effort to assist an undisclosed government agency recently in mitigating the breach and cyber ransom activities.
“This type of response clearly met our intent in establishing the Ohio Cyber Reserve and being able to leverage civilian expertise to meet emerging virtual threats to infrastructure, communications and government,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general and commander of the Ohio National Guard.
The Ohio Cyber Reserve (OhCR) member was chosen because of his expertise in the affected network equipment, and he provided assistance remotely for four days.
“I’m glad I was able to assist. There’s a sense of pride when you’re helping out, doing your civic duty, to try to improve the overall security posture of organizations in need,” said Jay (full name not being disclosed due to security considerations), the OhCR member.
The deployment occurred just 16 months after the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 52 (S.B. 52), which established the OhCR under the Adjutant General’s Department as part of the State Defense Force.
S.B. 52, sponsored by Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, during the 133rd General Assembly and promoted by Secretary of State Frank LaRose, significantly expanded Ohio’s ability to respond, deter and mitigate cyber threats and acts focused against municipalities and state government. As a unique organization with cutting edge capabilities, the OhCR draws together civilian volunteers who are cyber experts and information technology professionals to serve Ohio not only as cyber warriors, but as proponents of cyber hygiene, cyber threat awareness and STEM workforce development. There are currently about 40 OhCR members.
Though details on the location, scope and type of cyberattack remain confidential, the immediate response and ability of the OhCR member and the Ohio National Guard team resulted in the affected government organization reestablishing network security and returning to normalcy.