Working together for workforce sustainability

wfsustainabilityThe Washington Finance Officers Association (WFOA) has partnered with the Washington State Auditor’s Office for over 60 years to promote excellence in governmental finance through leadership, education and communication for the public benefit.

As part of the goals set by the Board for 2015-2016, this past year WFOA and our Office have partnered to build a sustainable workforce in government finance through recruitment efforts that promote college student awareness of the professional opportunities in government finance.

Together representatives from WFOA and the State Auditor’s Office have attended various college career events across the state as part of this effort.  On October 12, 2016 WFOA and representatives from our Office attended the St. Martin’s College Career Fair in Olympia. (Pictured  is WFOA Board member Stacie Tellers and State Auditor’s Office Recruiters Jon Howard and Sara Heath.)

#CyberAware: Creating a strong password

businessman pressing cyber security button on virtual screensPasswords are an everyday part of life whether you’re logging into your work, bank or social media accounts.  You should do everything you can to protect your passwords and use different passwords for different accounts as described in an earlier tip regarding “password reuse.” More importantly, knowing what makes a weak and strong password can reduce the chance a hacker or unauthorized user can guess or crack your password.  At the State Auditor’s Office, our IT department requires a minimum of ten characters that includes at least one upper and lower case letter, a number, a special character. Also, no reuse of previous passwords. Continue reading

Survey shows states are concerned about cyber security, and making progress

Hacking Bypass Security

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) conducts an annual survey of state Chief Information Officers to learn about the top policy and technology issues state governments face. State Chief Information Officers (CIOs) have ranked cyber security as the top priority on every survey since 2014. At the State Auditor’s Office, we are also concerned about cyber security. To help state agencies and local governments protect their IT systems and data, we conduct IT security performance audits designed to assess opportunities for improvement. We plan to continue these audits to strengthen the security posture of our state and local governments.

In 2016, the Deloitte-NASCIO cyber security study was completed. This study surveyed states’ Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) for their perspectives and insights cyber security issues. Interestingly, some of what the state CISOs reported in the survey aligned with what state agencies reported to our Office during our IT security performance audits. Specifically, they named adequate resources, including funding and staffing for IT security, as a significant challenge. However, the study’s results indicate CISOs and CIOs are having a strong, positive impact on cyber security, which is encouraging.

#CyberAware about Ransomware

ransomwareImagine your local government’s files and documents held for ransom. The risk is greater than you think, with the number of cyber-attacks by ransomware increasing rapidly.

Ransomware, including Cryptolocker and its variants, is malicious software that encrypts files on a computer as well as files on the network that the user has access to.  Once the files are encrypted, the only way to open them again is with the encryption key. Victims must pay a ransom, usually in a virtual currency such as Bitcoin, to the attacker to obtain the key to their locked files.  Continue reading