• October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

    Cyber Security SmallOctober is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Electronic devices keep us connected to the world and provide many essential services. Every day people find new ways to access our personal information and data from our devices, so it is important to keep up to date on the latest cybersecurity techniques to keep your information safe.

    How can I keep my data safe?

    • Password protection is the single most important thing you can do to keep your data safe.
    • Use a unique password for each account.
    • Do not include your name, your kids’ names or pets’ names in any password.
    • Avoid using known information about you in your passwords.
    • Use a combination of upper and lowercase characters.
    • Keep your Internet browser and operating system up to date with the latest versions.
    • Be cautious about any online offers.
    • Monitor your online bank and credit accounts for unauthorized or suspicious spending.
    • Talk with your family about the importance of cybersecurity.

    What is phishing?

    Phishing is a technique used to get your personal information by email, websites or phone. Phishing is an attempt to dishonestly gather personal information from you or to install malicious software on your device.

    To avoid becoming a victim of phishing…

    • If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
    • Delete emails asking for personal information and block the sender.
    • Do not visit websites that may attempt to install malicious software.
    • Never give personal information to anyone over the phone or online.

    For more cybersecurity tips, visit

  • Glowiak passes measure to strengthen cybersecurity breach notification laws

    Cyber crimeSPRINGFIELD – Companies would need to notify Illinois consumers of cybersecurity breaches and compromised personal data sooner under a plan by State Senator Suzy Glowiak.

    Glowiak (D-Western Springs) passed Senate Bill 1624 this month, which would require companies that hold Illinois residents’ personal information to report data breaches which affect more than 500 Illinois residents to the Attorney General as soon as possible.

    “Every day, we all go online to do all sorts of tasks, from paying our electricity bill to buying groceries,” Glowiak said. “We should have the peace of mind that comes with knowing our sensitive information is safe, but in the unfortunate event that a company experiences a security breach, Illinois residents should be notified in a timely manner.”

  • Hastings pushes for strategy to fight foreign cyber threats

    hastings 011017SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) is fighting to protect the citizens of Illinois from catastrophic cyber threats.

    Hastings advanced House Joint Resolution 59 to create the International Cybersecurity Task Force to develop strategies to fight and protect Illinois’ voter information databases from foreign cyberattacks.

    “Illinois businesses and residents rely on secure databases and internet services to function in a global world,” Hastings said. “Unsecure online services are detrimental to the well-being of citizens and puts businesses at a disadvantage. It’s our duty to take the proper precautions to fight cyber-attacks that are impeding our basic freedoms.”

    Hastings supported this resolution in response to coordinated global cyberattack known as WannaCry, one of the largest cyberattacks ever recorded. The May 2017 attack impacted more than 150 countries, infecting more than 250,000 computers and devices.

    There is an increasing concern that the Illinois power grid could be susceptible to widespread outage. This could cause catastrophic damage to the economy of Illinois, and Hastings said the state needs to actively seek ways to add layers of protection. 

    “Cyberattacks have continuously become more severe. It’s important for Illinois to upgrade and institute safety precautions to protect key infrastructure,” Hastings said. “As online threats and entities continue to evolve, Illinois needs to be one step ahead to better serve the citizens and businesses of our great state.”

    Hastings has continued to advocate and call for stronger cybersecurity protocols at the state and local levels to prevent further attacks on Illinois’ voter registration databases. He plans on taking action to protect Illinois’ cyber services to ensure there aren’t threats to local businesses.

    “Our mom and pop businesses are the pillars of our communities. We cannot expect them to have the resources and technology to fight off expert foreign cyber-attacks,” Hastings said.

    House Joint Resolution 59 passed the Senate’s State Government Committee with bipartisan support and now moves to the full senate for consideration.

  • Raoul works to protect Illinois voters from cyber threats

    Sen. Kwame RaoulCHICAGO - In light of the fact Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. election system affected over 39 states, including Illinois during the 2016 general election, State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) will head a package of cybersecurity initiatives during the next legislative session.

    “Now is the time to take extra cybersecurity precautions. We cannot have another attack on our electoral system,” Raoul said. “We must take direct action to protect our voters from security vulnerabilities within the electoral process.”

    In Washington D.C., U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley co-sponsored the Protecting the American Process for Election Results (PAPER) Act, which provides assistance to states allowing them to strengthen cybersecurity defenses against intrusions in their electoral systems.

  • Hastings works to make sure Illinois meets 21st century challenges

    cyber month 100417TINLEY PARK- State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) is proud to announce the state of Illinois will be observing National Cybersecurity Awareness Month throughout October.

    “National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a good opportunity for Illinois residents to educate themselves on new laws and scams to protect their personal information,” Hastings said. “There are a number of resources available and new laws that will help us meet the technological challenges of the 21st century.”

  • Hastings: Homeland Security confirms Russians responsible for voter database security breach

    hackersTINLEY PARK-The United State Department of Homeland Security confirmed Russian hackers were responsible for the malicious 2016 cyber-attack on the Illinois Voter Registration System database that compromised personal information for as many as 90,000 Illinois residents.  

    State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) is working to prevent similar breaches in security from ever happening in Illinois again.

  • Hunter measure guarding against cybersecurity breaches signed into law

    keyboardSPRINGFIELD – In an effort to protect governmental information from phishing schemes and coordinated cyber-attacks legislation backed by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D- Chicago) was signed into law that will require state employees to take cyber-security training on an annual basis.

    “Hacking experts are becoming more creative by identifying new ways to obstruct governmental information systems,” said Hunter. “Training our employees in cybersecurity is critical in reducing the risks of such sophisticated attacks.”

    The initiative was modeled after a Florida law which was enacted to ensure that the state’s data and staff resources are maintained reliably and safely and are recoverable in the event of a disaster.

    “This legislation will not only improve the accessibility of electronic information and information technology but will increase education, employment and access to governmental information and services,” said Hunter.

    The security training attached to House Bill 2371 will include:
    • Detecting phishing scams
    • Preventing spyware infections
    • Preventing identity thefts
    • Preventing and responding to data breaches

    The legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2018.

  • Senator Michael E. Hastings works to give Illinois residents the right to know

    Sen. Michael HastingsSPRINGFIELD — As the federal government rolls back regulations to allow commercial websites like Google and Facebook sell Illinois residents’ personal data; State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) is leading the charge to increase protections.

    Hastings passed Senate Bill 1502, the Right to Know Act, which would allow consumers to request what information such companies collect about them.

    “As the federal government continues to roll back regulations that would allow companies like Google and Facebook to sell and share your personal data, the need for state regulations has become absolutely vital,” Hastings said. “This day and age we can do everything online from paying our bills to buying groceries. The price of surfing the web shouldn’t mean sacrificing your privacy and personal information.”

  • Hastings investigates cybersecurity breach at State Board of Elections

    hastings 050417SPRINGFIELD— State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) worked today to investigate the cybersecurity breach at the Illinois State Board of Elections.

    During the 2016 election year, 70,000 to 80,000 names from the State Board of Elections voter registration system were compromised.

    Hastings convened the Illinois Senate Subcommittee on Cybersecurity to receive a full report on the cybersecurity breach that the Illinois State Board of Elections experienced during the 2016 election year to ensure Illinois residents that protections are in place to protect their personal data and resolve unanswered questions.

    “Our elections are a sacred component of our nation’s democracy,” Hastings said. “I cannot stand up as foreign agents meddle in Illinois and U.S. elections. I do not care what political party the people of Illinois pick to represent them, but I do want outcome of our elections to be accurate.” 

    The Illinois State Board of Elections reported that seven IP addresses were linked back to the Netherlands. Two servers were reported to have participated in the attack, “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear”, which are the two largest hacking groups rumored to be tied to the Russian federal security systems run by King Servers, which is stationed in Russia.

    Hastings reiterated that the hacking of voter registration data in Illinois was similar to security breaches at the national level and in France and Denmark.

    A key finding from the hearing, found as local election authorities synced and update data with the Illinois State Board of Elections, was that the local election authorities databases could possibly become compromised as well.

    Hastings is calling for the Illinois State Board of Elections to aid local election authorities to scrape their system of potential malware software to remove any type of security weakness. His office will be sending out a letter to every local election authority urging them to scrape election databases to prevent possible hackers and intrusive software that may be hiding within their systems.

    “I am extremely concerned that our local and state election authorities may have hackers hiding within our databases phishing for future attacks,” Hastings said. “Our democracy is important. It is important enough that I put my life on the line for our nation, as many others have. I will not rest until we take every precaution to ensure similar attacks on our liberties and righteous values do not happen again.”

    Hastings commended the representatives from the Illinois State Board of Elections for their forthright and honest answers.

    To hear the entire press conference please visit this link:

  • Hastings denounces Trump administration’s degradation of privacy rights to consumers online

    hastings 011017TINLEY PARK- Illinois residents’ cybersecurity could soon be at risk due to the Trump administration’s push to kill privacy regulations passed by the Federal Communication Commission last fall.

    The resolution passed the U.S. Senate 50 to 48 with a mostly partisan vote to end regulations that would require Internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T to give explicit consent before sharing consumers’ web-browsing data and personal information with advertisers and other-third party companies. 

    Senator Michael E. Hastings is outraged at the Trump administration’s blatant attempt to disregard Illinois residents’ cybersecurity.

    “Trump’s administration just picked the interests of Internet service providers over the rights of our citizens,” Hastings said. “The way we use the Internet has evolved. We pay bills, buy groceries and receive our news online. Area residents should be able to pay their bills online without worrying a stranger has access to their personal data and records.” 

    Advocates from the ACLU, Public Knowledge and Free Press have criticized this move as a violation of free speech.

    Hastings is working at the state level to update Internet safety laws. His initiative, Senate Bill 1502, would require commercial websites that collect personal information to notify customers of the information they have collected as well as any third parties with whom they may have disclosed personal information with.

    “The need for state-level cybersecurity regulations is more important than ever,” Hastings said. “As the federal government continues their mission to erode the rights and privacy of our citizens, I will do whatever I can do in Illinois to protect residents’ privacy and security.”

    Senate Bill 1502 passed the Senate’s Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support. Hastings hopes this measure will pass the full Senate within the next month.