AUSTIN, Texas - A geopolitical crisis wasn't the focus of a gathering Tuesday at the Texas Capitol. It was held to update Gov. Greg Abbott on efforts to address domestic terrorism.
"So we want to create a statute that will give prosecutors the tools, to prosecute, those who are plotting to commit domestic terrorism before the acts of violence occur,” said Abbott.
Abbott also voiced concern about international threats as Texas apparently is getting caught up in the confrontation with Iran. A recent review, according to Abbott, indicates state computers have been targeted for retaliation.
"They have noticed, an increase of attempted attacks from Iran on state agencies at the rate of about 10,000 per minute,” said Abbott.
That shocking amount of activity was reported to the governor by Amanda Crawford with the Texas Department of Information Resources.
"We've been looking, in light of events, making sure we've been extra vigilant on certain areas of the globe,” said Crawford.
However, tracing the digital footprints, according to Crawford, did not provide a direct link back to Iran.
"We have no way of knowing whether it's government-based, or government-sanctioned, it's simply what we are doing is scanning on our state networks and see where attacks are coming from, and it just through geographical locations,” said Crawford.
Crawford also said the spike is a small blip in comparison to the daily hacking attempts.
"We see literally billions of probes on a given day, some sort of scans, really its astronomical numbers that come through, and they are not typically successful,” said Crawford.
Several cyberattacks took place just last year, they involved ransomware targeting schools and hospitals, and even some counties got shut down. In response to that, a special cyber response team was ramped up. The teams, which are part of the Texas National Guard, were showcased during a conference in October.
Deployments are similar to what's done during a natural disaster. At the time of the conference, Lt Col. Chris Winnek said the team is a reflection of how threats continue to change.
"So as counties or municipalities request support through the division of emergency management, the TMD partners with those state agencies and puts boots on the ground to help those individuals in time of need," said Lt. Col. Winnek.
Abbott on Tuesday suggested being vigilant may be the new normal.
"These attacks from Iran-based entities, as well as other entities across the globe, are going to continue,” said Abbott.
Crawford offered this advice.
"We have to make sure, we are changing our passwords, that you are keeping your systems backed up, that you back up your files, that you segment your networks, that you know who has administrative access to your networks, who holds your information where is that information hosted,” said Crawford.
Later this week, members of a special State House committee will hold another hearing on mass violence. It will take place in El Paso where last year a lone gunman killed 22 people.
READ THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY'S REPORTS BELOW: