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Nov 02, 2020

Now more than ever, we need to be vigilant looking for scams related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). WaTech's Office of Cybersecurity is monitoring all activity and will share the latest news, updates and resources on this page.

Latest news

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an alert reminding individuals to remain vigilant for scams related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Cyber actors may send emails with malicious...

Oct 19, 2020

Dear Washingtonians,

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month! I want to urge everyone to test their knowledge with our daily quiz and join us for our upcoming presentations.

I also want to focus your attention on this month’s key word – awareness.

There is a critical need to increase awareness across the...

Oct 02, 2020

WaTech’s state Office of Cybersecurity will hold several virtual presentations in October as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Please mark your calendar for the following events and bookmark this page ( for video links on the day of the presentation.

OCS operational plan

As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: “Plans are worthless, but planning...

Oct 01, 2020

WaTech's state Office of Cybersecurity will regularly post screenshots of phishing emails (see below) our Security Operations Center is seeing to help computer users identify, and delete, suspicious emails before they can cause damage.

Phishing tips

The most common way computer systems become infected with malware...

Oct 01, 2020

Headlines about public and private organizations worldwide falling victim to ransomware or data breaches have become all too common. We all must remain vigilant at home and at the office.

This year, WaTech’s state Office of Cybersecurity (OCS) is participating in National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) with an expanded daily quiz (see below) that serves as a fast and fun way to test your cybersecurity knowledge.

Beginning Thursday, Oct. 1, please make a daily visit to...

Oct 01, 2020

The U.S Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) today released a ransomware guide developed in coordination with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC). The guide is now available on CISA’s website:

The resource was developed for state, local, tribal and territorial governments (SLTT) and small-to-midsize...

Sep 21, 2020

Dear Washingtonians!

Each day seems to bring news of cyberattacks across the country, from ransomware to identity theft, that cause disruptions in service and enormous financial losses. Yet we still underestimate the true threat.

The most recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report had an interesting statistic that demonstrates this point. The study found that only four percent of data breaches were due to sophisticated cyberattacks.

In other words, 96% of data...

Aug 19, 2020

Dear Washingtonians!

As Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

That’s why one of my top goals, since appointed state Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) nine months ago, has been to create a sustainable cybersecurity operational plan for the State of Washington that can meet the security challenges that lie ahead.

A sustainable plan needs planning, which is a collaborative effort that requires strong engagement by...

Jul 14, 2020

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued an alert on a Critical Vulnerability in SAP NetWeaver AS Java. An unauthenticated attacker can exploit this vulnerability through the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to take control of trusted SAP applications. SAP has released a...

Jun 16, 2020

Dear Washingtonians!

A lot has been in the news lately about bad actors taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, including imposters filing for unemployment benefits across the country using personal information obtained from large scale breaches.

While imposter fraud is a serious problem, it represents only a small part of the overall threat. Sometimes we spend so much time on the pressing issues in front of us that we don’t stop to consider the bigger picture. Instead, we...

May 27, 2020

WaTech’s state Office of Cybersecurity is receiving reports of fake SecureAccess Washington (SAW) phishing emails that attempt to trick people into providing their account credentials.

In the example below, users are told they have 24 hours to correct inaccurate information or their SAW account will be restricted.

SAW administrators will never send an email asking users to verify details in their account or threaten account suspension. They also will never ask for a user’s...

May 26, 2020

The FBI is warning that cyber criminals are targeting teleworking employees with fraudulent termination phishing emails and video teleconferencing (VTC) meeting invites, citing COVID-19 as the reason.


The emails try to lure victims into clicking on malicious links by offering to...

May 14, 2020

Dear Washingtonians!

I hope you all are doing well, staying home and staying healthy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone. However, I am cheered by early signs that conditions are improving in Washington state. Gov. Jay Inslee recently announced his Safe Start plan, a data-driven approach to reopening the...

May 13, 2020

For many people in Washington state, and across the country, public Wi-Fi has become a digital lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Pew Research, more than one-in-four adults do not have broadband internet access and – with the closure of public gathering spaces including libraries and cafes – are increasingly going to areas where public signals are still available to stay connected.

Washington state is...

Apr 27, 2020

Criminals are hard at work trying to steal money being sent to taxpayers under the federal CARES Act. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is urging taxpayers to be on the lookout for a surge of fraudulent calls and email phishing attempts related to the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Taxpayers should watch out not only for phishing emails but also text messages, websites and social media attempts that request money or personal information.


Apr 27, 2020

Washington State Chief Information Security Officer Vinod Brahmapuram participated in a...

Mar 26, 2020

In the confusion and chaos surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s easy to overlook the fundamentals of cybersecurity. With the sudden influx of virtual meetings occurring in tandem with the dramatic increase in teleworking across the United States, security has become more important than ever.

To address this issue, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)...

Feb 24, 2020

BELLINGHAM – Students might be surprised by the variety of careers available in the public sector and should strongly consider working for government, state Chief Information Security Officer Vinod Brahmapuram told a cybersecurity class this week.

The state Office of Cybersecurity (OCS) made a daylong visit at Western Washington University on Feb. 19. OCS was there to congratulate a team of students – Chase Warren, Jack Stratton, Grant Barton, Ben Paros, Josh Stuifbergen and Charles...

Feb 11, 2020

Dear Washingtonians!

When watching Super Bowl 2020 earlier this month, I was struck by how Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes took his team from 10 points behind with only nine minutes left to win the game 31-20. It was a masterful performance that exemplified his ability to set emotions aside and do what was needed to defeat his opponent.

I see a commonality between the challenges Mahomes overcame for his team and a new information security threat that’s using...

Feb 04, 2020

News reports indicate threat actors are taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak in new phishing email campaigns. 

Threat actors are using public fear to increase the likelihood that users will click on a link or open an attachment.

In one campaign, the phishing email reportedly impersonates the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning...

Jan 21, 2020


Jan 16, 2020

Dear Washingtonians!

Welcome to CISO Compass, a new monthly column where I will share key insights related to cybersecurity. 

Education is integral to information security. It is my goal that this column will increase awareness, stimulate broader discussion in the community, and help generate new ideas to combat ever-escalating cyber challenges.

With the New Year comes new hopes, dreams and aspirations. To me that begs the question: What does the cyber community see...

Jan 14, 2020

Tax season is in full swing and criminals are going to great lengths to steal your identity and tax refund.

Scams include fake websites and tax forms that look like they belong to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in order to trick you into providing your personal information.

You should always take steps to minimize your risk of identity theft and other online-related crimes, but this is especially important during tax season.


Dec 10, 2019

Online shopping continues to grow, now representing more than half of all purchases during the holidays.

Unfortunately, hackers are taking advantage of this trend and victimizing shoppers.

Being aware of the risks and knowing how to take appropriate action is important. One wrong click while shopping online this holiday season could make you...

Nov 15, 2019

Vinod Brahmapuram, the state Chief Information Security Officer, appeared on TVW’s news show The Impact to discuss his views on information security and the role WaTech’s state Office of Cybersecurity plays in securing the personal information of Washington residents entrusted to the state. You can view the show on the TVW web site.