cyber security

photo of michelle wilcox

Voting rights advocates, computer security experts and some county elections officials gathered at the Ohio Statehouse for a cybersecurity initiative. Some say they feel like they have the information they need to protect Ohio’s upcoming primary. 

Franklin County Board of Elections Deputy Director David Payne says he’s not worried so much about the election process itself. “It would be very, very, difficult for anybody to change a vote.”

a photo of a computer

Ohio’s Secretary of State says a recent attempt by a computer in Panama to insert code into his office’s website was unsuccessful. But state leaders say this incident underscores why a comprehensive election security plan must be put in place soon.

Earlier this year, Secretary of State Frank LaRose gave all 88 county boards of election a security directive.

And Aaron Ockerman with the Ohio Association of Elections officials says local boards are on track to have all of those security

enhancements complete by the end of January.


Gov. Mike DeWine signing bill

The Ohio Secretary of State says his office fought off an attempted hack on this past Election Day. After further investigation, the attempt to get into the office's system was traced back to a company in Russia. 

Sec. of State Frank LaRose’s office says there was what they call an "unsophisticated and unsuccessful" attempt to insert code to the office's website on Election Day earlier this month.

photo of national guardsman at computer

The state is now taking applications from civilians with internet and high tech security skills to join a special unit in the Ohio National Guard. The Ohio Cyber Reserve is a group of volunteers that would be trained to handle potential cyber-attacks on the government, infrastructure, or businesses.

Members of the Ohio Cyber Reserve would be on standby, and would be granted leave from work and compensated if called into active duty.

a photo of John Nicholas and Stan Smith

Like death and taxes, being hit by a computer virus seems inevitable.

Cybercrime took a $100 billion bite out of the U.S. economy last year alone.

It’s not just individuals who are hacked. Cities, schools and small businesses are increasingly targeted.

In this week’s Exploradio, a look at local efforts to fight the onslaught by training the next generation of cyber warriors.

Kelly Kendrick is IT director at Coventry Local Schools, a small district south of Akron.


The Ohio House last week approved the creation of a civilian force of ‘cyber-warriors.’

The bill is now headed back to the Senate for a final vote to establish the Ohio Cyber Reserve.

Picture of Robert Eckman teaching class.
Kent State University

As Chief Information Security Officer at Kent State University, Robert Eckman is responsible for driving cyber security excellence and maturity across the University.

He has over 25 years of experience in technology as a project management specialist. His background includes work as the Cyber Security Program Manager for FirstEnergy’s Nuclear division and in roles at Progressive Insurance and Shearer’s Foods.

Akron City Hall
Akron City Council

Akron 4th Ward Councilman Russ Neal wants the city to consider going to the cloud to protect itself from cyber criminals. And he says the best way to do that is to partner with a major tech firm capable of setting it up.

Preliminary work on Rover route west of Wooster

The Rover Pipeline’s corporate parent came under cyber-attack this week, according to Bloomberg News, as did three other natural gas transmission companies. No pipeline operations or safety systems were affected.

photo of hacker

Several Ohio government computer systems have been hacked within the last month, which cyber security expert Matthew Curtin says can be expected because of an increased reliance on technology.

The Wooster-Ashland Regional Council of Governments, which provides 911 dispatching, experienced the most recent hack, with more than 200,000 records compromised.

Curtin says government agencies need to think realistically while designing computer systems in order to avoid hackers.

photo of computer

This fall, the University of Akron will be the first public university in Ohio to offer a degree in cybersecurity.

The curriculum will include decoding, computer systems, mathematics and detecting illegal hacking.

Scott Randby will teach the mathematics component of the degree. He says that the importance of the field led the university to pursue the new curriculum.

photo of a hacker / Shutterstock

Many large businesses have departments that deal with cybersecurity and data breaches on the internet, but smaller businesses often don’t have those resources. Those small operations are taking advantage of a program offered by the state. 

photo of national guardsman at computer

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.”

US Department of Homeland Security logo

The federal Department of Homeland Security is calling voting machines “critical infrastructure” because of the threat of hacking. But Ohio’s Secretary of State wonders whether that designation will bring changes.

Jon Husted said he’s not sure what this designation from Homeland Security means and whether it's an expansion of the federal government's authority. So he wants information in writing.

photo of a hacker / Shutterstock

Ohio’s attorney general has launched a new program to try to protect the state’s businesses from being victimized by internet hackers.

The key part of Attorney General Mike DeWine’s new CyberOhio Initiative involves an advisory board, composed of business leaders and tech experts.

“The goal of CyberOhio is simple – to provide the best legal, technical and collaborative cyber security environment possible to help Ohio’s businesses thrive.”


A local cyber security expert is advising parents to take an active role in monitoring their children’s online activity. 

WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports that kids need help learning to safely navigate our increasingly wired world.

Brian Kelley is Chief Information Officer for Portage County, and teaches computer and information security at The University of Akron and Kent State University.