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October 24, 2021

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Bill creating Nevada cyber defense office clears Legislature

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval’s plan to create an office of cyber defense to protect state computers against hackers has cleared the Legislature.

The Senate today unanimously approved a bill establishing the office within the state Department of Public Safety. Its duties would include surveying the statewide system and look for possible vulnerabilities.

Under Assembly Bill 471, starting July 1, the office would work to minimize any harmful impacts if the system is breached.

The bill says the office must develop a strategy and work with other government agencies and the university system.

The last break-in occurred last year in a system containing information related to the state’s medical marijuana program, including social security numbers, dates of birth and other information of the clients and those with licenses.

The hack forced a temporary shutdown of the system.

The coordinator of cyber defense has the power to appoint a “response team” to investigate any hacks of computer systems. Its findings could be shared with law enforcement but would not be public.

The office must prepare annual reports on its progress, including a general description of any threats during the previous year.

There was not a dissenting vote in either house of the Legislature.