Newsmakers: Rep. Kristin Bahner Explains ‘IT’ as Critical Infrastructure
Rep. Kristin Bahner (DFL-Maple Grove) is the author of a bill designating IT as a critical infrastructure. The change would allow Minnesota to “act swiftly and without hesitation” if there’s a cyber-attack and would also allow the state to receive federal disaster relief in the case of an attack.
Bahner calls it ‘nation-leading legislation.’
“This bill is really the critical first step that we need to ensure the safety of our state’s infrastructure as well as the data and the privacy of our citizens,” said Bahner. “What it essentially does is designate IT infrastructure as critical infrastructure if there is a cyberattack, and that means things like ransomware, denial of service attacks, phishing scams. All of them are small, tiny ways to probe our defenses and be able to inflict the most damage.”
Bahner says the bill could give the state two main advantages.
“It allows us to act swiftly and without hesitation in the event that an attack occurs,” said Bahner. “The other is that it should open us up to receive federal disaster relief money, should an attack occur.”
Bahner says it’s an example of being good stewards of taxpayer money to plan ahead and be ready for a cyberattack.
“The reason we have to do it now is we have seen a dramatic escalation in cyber attacks across the nation and across the world,” said Bahner.
Bahner says with the attacks in Ukraine, there have been an increased number of alerts from the FBI and Homeland Security of potential attacks.
The bill has bipartisan and bicameral support and Bahner says it’s “on track” to be passed this session.
“I think as long as we are able to not play any shenanigans,, we have a really good shot,” said Bahner. “I would argue that acting swiftly and without hesitation, I keep repeating those words because they are so critical in an event like this.”