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A message from Comptroller William McNamara on Cybersecurity Awareness Month

The text CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS MONTH inside a stylized shield, with the Seal of the Office of the Comptroller

I join with leadership throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts — including Governor Healey who has proclaimed October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month — in making this month a time of special focus and commitment to the protection of public resources from cybercriminals.  The knowledge, best practices, and sense of vigilance that we build in October will serve us well throughout the year. 

The rise of artificial intelligence is only the latest threat in a never-ending battle to keep public funds secure.  However, despite the technological complexities surrounding artificial intelligence, the best controls against cyber-fraud remain available for every Commonwealth employee to take: PAUSE, VERIFY, REPORT. 

We, in concert with our partners at the Executive Office of Technology and Security Services and other agencies, institute the requirements and provide the tools that help professionals across state government to achieve their core organizational mission in a secure, controlled financial environment.  The most important protection, however, is not a top-down policy or tech solution.  It is the knowledge and, importantly, the vigilance that you exercise every day.   It is up to every member of state government simply to PAUSE when they see something suspicious, VERIFY that an incoming request is legitimate, and REPORT any wrongdoing or suspected wrongdoing. 

We have provided resources on our public website, MAComptroller.org, to engage and educate employees throughout the Commonwealth on common threats and how to identify and prevent them. 

We hope that Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a jumping off point for discussions at state agencies throughout state government on how to educate employees on cybersecurity risks, ensure strong protections around financial systems, and secure all inroads to information networks. 

In addition to the resources we are making available this month, the talented experts at the Office of the Comptroller are available to assist any Commonwealth department seeking to build a strong, secure apparatus that protects public resources. 

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