05042017CM0445RSSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings’ measure to halt the state’s participation in the controversial Interstate Voter Registration Data Crosscheck Program advanced today.

Senate Bill 2273, sponsored by Hastings (D-Tinley Park) would prohibit the state from sharing any voter information with any interstate voter registration program other than the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).

Hastings, Chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Sub-Committee on Cybersecurity, has continued to investigate the 2016 State Board of Elections security breach.

“It is evident that Crosscheck is an inferior program that makes the citizens of Illinois’ personal information susceptible to hackers,” Hastings said. “The right to vote is a fundamental component of our nation’s democratic values. It’s our duty to protect voters’ personal and sensitive information and promote impartial and honest elections.”

Hasting said to do so, the state must halt participation in the controversial Crosscheck program.

Senate Bill 2273 would allow the Illinois State Board of Elections to enter into exclusive voter data sharing agreements with states that border Illinois but do not participate in ERIC. This would allow Illinois to upgrade voter records and eliminate duplicate records to protect against voter fraud and abuse. Indiana, Iowa and Kentucky would be eligible to share data with Illinois.

Illinois began using Crosscheck in 2010 when no other alternatives existed. Since then, ERIC has been developed by states concerned about the security of the personal information that is shared with such programs.

“Illinois residents deserve to have the peace of mind that the Illinois State Board of Elections is taking every necessary precaution to protect their sensitive personal information,” Hastings said. 

Under current state law, the State Board of Elections is required to use ERIC while participation in Crosscheck is voluntary.

Senate Bill 2273 passed the Senate’s Executive Committee and now moves to the full senate for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

05042017AM6640 RSSPRINGFIELD- 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.

Category: Press Releases

dataprivacy 012818In honor of Data Privacy Day, here are a few easy and quick ways to protect your sensitive personal information.

Create better passwords:

Changing and creating innovative passwords can go a long way toward protecting your information. Using a password that is easy to guess does not protect your sensitive data in our tech-savvy world.

Even though it is difficult to remember different passwords for each of your accounts, experts all agree that users should not use the same or similar passwords in all instances. If someone does discover your password for one account, all of your other accounts will then be vulnerable.

It is beneficial to include numbers, symbols and both uppercase and lowercase letters (depending on password rules set up by the program, app or website). The best passwords avoid using words that can be found in the dictionary.

Experts also are divided on whether you should change your passwords frequently, but if there’s any chance one of yours has been stolen in a breach, it is important to change it right away.

Don't use Social Security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, or other personally identifiable information as passwords.

Using numbers or combinations associated with other personally identifiable information as all or even part of your passwords is a huge security risk.

Don't use any part of your social security number (or any other sensitive info, like a credit card number) as a password, user ID or personal identification number (PIN).

If a hacker gains access to this information, it will be among the first things they use to try to get into your account.

Read more ...

Category: Press Releases

March4 RSTINLEY PARK- Starting Jan. 1, Illinois universities and colleges must establish a policy for awarding academic course credit for military training, thanks to State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park).

One of the biggest challenges facing returning servicemen and -women is figuring out how military training credits transfer to college credit. The new law will help standardize the process.

“Illinois’ veterans have valuable on-site educational experience,” Hastings said. “It’s our duty and honor to ensure returning veterans receive credit for the life and academic expertise they gained while serving our nation.”

Under the current system, universities and community colleges attempt to translate military experience into college credits, with confusion arising from inconsistencies such as descriptions for military training and college courses that don’t always match up perfectly. A military acronym on a transcript may also refer to a different class or curriculum depending on which branch of service uses it.

Often a credit transfer becomes a matter of the higher education institution’s willingness to research ways to find equivalent civilian academic courses. A standardized system would end confusion and create an easier transition for our military personnel, Hastings said.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, over 773,000 veterans are now using their GI Bill benefits to go to college, spending a collective $11 billion a year.

“Requiring veterans to take repetitive and redundant academic classes is a waste of time and money,” Hastings said. “The entire process can be discouraging. We need to help streamline the process to promote an easy transition for veterans into civilian life by cutting out the bureaucracy.”

Hastings believes returning veterans may be the key to solving workforce shortages in Illinois.

“The quicker our military men and women complete their college degrees; the faster they can enter the workforce,” Hastings said. “Our veterans have real life in the field training. Their experiences in high pressure situations make them ideal candidates to fill vacancies as registered nurses, EMT’s and other medical professions.”

House Bill 3701 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support.

Category: Press Releases

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