The man who was appointed chairman to the Public Utility Regulatory Authority in 2012 will assume a new but familiar role in state government.
Art House, 74, will immediately step down from PURA into the newly created position of Chief Cyber Security Risk Officer.
House’s appointment was announced Wednesday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy who praised his experience in the field of cybersecurity. House will work with Chief Information Officer Mark Raymond and Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Melody Currey in the Bureau of Enterprise Systems and Technology.
He will maintain his $159,993 salary and benefit package. And Malloy is expected to announce a successor to his position at PURA in the coming weeks.
House played an extensive role in developing Connecticut’s Cybersecurity Action Plan, which was released earlier this year and identified solutions for enhanced cybersecurity across the state, specifically within the electric, natural gas, and water sectors. He will travel to Ukraine at the end of November to see firsthand how hackers were able to take a power station there offline on Dec. 23, 2015, leaving 230,000 residents in the cold and dark.
“You learn about these things, not by theory or seminars, but by seeing actual penetrations — actual things that took place,” House said. “And try to figure out how you can prevent that from happening here.”
As far as the state computer system is concerned, every month, hundreds of thousands of attempts are made to gain access. Typically, it’s done through social engineering where a person gives out their username and password to someone who shouldn’t have it.
Malloy said the state is not aware of any intrusion into its computer system that resulted in the taking of data.
He said House will work on improving the security of the state system and will also partner with the private sector, which is also under attack on a daily basis.
House said he hopes to build partnerships with the private sector so they can share information about defense mechanisms.