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Ohio National Guard Brings Together Businesses and Individuals to Combat Cyber Threats

photo of national guardsman at computer
The Ohio National Guard is working with businesses, local governments and other entities to combat cyber threats.

Ohio is collaborating with public- and private-sector groups in a new effort to tackle cyber threats. 

U.S. Air Force Major Gen. Mark Bartman has spent decades protecting the nation from assaults. But most of the newest attacks, he says, "are happening via the Internet, via the cyber world and via people’s keyboards from wherever they happen to be.”

Bartman says cyber warfare is happening daily, with hackers from around the world posing a threat to individuals with personal information, businesses and universities with intellectual property, and governments with data. National security is also vulnerable to hackers who target systems, such as the power grid.

OC3 and education
That’s why Bartman, who’s also the adjutant general of the Ohio National Guard, is leading a team private and public sector groups to improve the state’s cyber defenses.

The Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee, also known as the OC3, is working on ways to educate businesses and individuals to avoid falling victim to hackers.

“People look at like,'Well if it doesn’t affect me here at my home or at work, then maybe it’s not quite that bad.' Well you’ve gotta understand how the big world of things works out there. There are bad guys out there every day that are trying to do things in a malicious way.”

Badges, passwords and cyber ranges
One suggestion includes implementing an authentication process that includes two steps – such as requiring an employee to plug-in a badge and enter a strong password before using a computer.

The OC3 plans on rolling out what’s called a cyber range, a digital platform where people can gather to hone their cyber defense skills and learn more about how they can protect themselves. Bartman says this is something schools can use to educate kids, too.

“This is also a way to hopefully get some excitement generated in that K-12 group because right now one of the fastest growing markets as far as jobs are concerned ... is in the cyber realm.”

The OC3 is still in its beginning stages. Bartman hopes the group can put out its cyber range soon, start raising awareness about cyber threats, and maybe even work with lawmakers on how developing different policies could help protect the state moving forward.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.