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State establishes Cybercrime Consortium to defend against hacking

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Hacking, fraud, and data breaches are all serious considerations in the 21st century. Now, South Dakota’s cyber leaders want to work under one roof to make their defenses stronger.

From something as simple as an unguarded password to a sophisticated DDOS attack, cyberspace is as much a tool as it is a potential for trouble.

That’s why the state established the Cybercrime Consortium to consolidate defense efforts.

Arica Klum is director of digital forensics services at Dakota State University, a member institution.

“We already work together really well right now, so there’s already that long-standing relationship," Klum said. "It’s just a natural fit for us to all be in the same physical location. We’re constantly training. We’re training all the time, reading and taking information. It’s not easy. It’s a fast-paced environment.”

Klum said not every threat is external, though.

“What are the vulnerabilities in those systems – both physical and cyber," Klum said. "Our team goes on site and looks for things that might be a physical vulnerability. Passwords that are sticky taped to a monitor is a physical vulnerability.”

Attacks can target corporations and communities as well.

“A project we run here out of our lab, besides digital forensics, is Project Boundary Fence, which are penetration tests, vulnerability assessments for cities and counties," Klum said. "Trying to get in and watch for any vulnerabilities in systems before attacks can happen.”

Other consortium members include the state Bureau of Information and Technology and the South Dakota Fusion Center.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture