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Legislators hear broad support for Nevada cybersecurity center

Updated April 7, 2017 - 5:08 pm

CARSON CITY — Nevada is getting closer to taking its battle against cyberattacks to a new level.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee on Friday heard Assembly Bill 471, which would put in place the Nevada Office of Cyber Defense Coordination. Gov. Brian Sandoval has made cybersecurity a priority, putting $3.5 million toward the office into his budget proposal.

Under the bill, the center would be part of the Nevada Department of Public Safety and coordinate information about cyber threats between state government and private industries.

“A lot of the operational entities that are required to support this entity are within the Department of Public Safety,” said James Wright, the department’s director.

Examples include an investigations division and the Nevada Threat Analysis Center, which analyzes data for possible threats, including terrorism.

The department also has the Division of Emergency Management, which oversees efforts to plan response to man-made and natural disasters.

The measure had a wide range of support from the private and public sectors, including Switch, Union Pacific Railroad and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Chuck Callaway of the Metropolitan Police Department, suggested members of the committee read “Lights Out,” a Ted Koppel book about the vulnerabilities of the nation’s power grid to cyberattacks.

The bill would require the new office to prepare a statewide strategic plan with information about best practices, policies and recommendations by Jan. 1.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill and the committee did not take action Friday.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

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