FILE - Attorney General Kwame Raoul

Attorney General Kwame Raoul, left, and Kane County State's Attorney Joseph McMahon speak during a news conference Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Chicago. 

(The Center Square) – The state of Illinois is constantly under a barrage of attacks from malicious actors looking to steal valuable data and other assets or even grind important systems to a halt, according to state officials charged with keeping them at bay.

The Illinois House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and IT Committee got a state of the state’s electronic assets Thursday from the principals at the Department of Innovation Technology.

Adam Ford, chief information security officer at DOIT, said the state’s assets are seeing countless malicious attempts to breach their defenses every day.

“We are attacked millions of times per day,” he said. “We do receive millions of phishing emails per day. Making sure that we have a quick response and can contain those responses rapidly is key.”

Acting Secretary Jennifer Ricker said their biggest challenge at the time is finding qualified workers to fill their open positions.

“The whole cycle for hiring an individual is really challenging for us,” she said. “We typically have been sitting at about 25% vacancy rate of our staff.”

The meeting comes three months after Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office saw a breach in his office’s network that resulted in ransomware being installed.

Illinois’ Department of Employment Security blamed data breaches elsewhere for the hundreds of thousands of fraudulent unemployment insurance applications.

DOIT officials couldn’t quantify how many times the state’s tech network had been breached in recent years but Ford said it’s “infrequent.”

Regional Editor

Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.