State’s top cyberdefender steps down after months of criticism over security lapses

Michele Robinson

Michele Robinson

Michele Robinson, the state’s top officer in charge of cybersecurity, stepped down last week after spending the last seven months under fire for widespread lapses in the state’s safeguards against hacking.

In an email to colleagues, Robinson was vague about her reasons, mentioning some “personal family matters.” She was mum on the security concerns raised by California State Auditor Elaine Howle in both an audit in August and a hearing last month.

“It has been an honor to serve as your (chief information security officer) and to work with you all toward the advancement of information security and privacy programs in state government, as well as California’s overall cybersecurity posture,” Robinson wrote.

In February’s hearing, Howle doubled down on an audit her office issued last year, which reported 73 of the 77 state agencies had inadequate or worse protections against hacking. Howle’s top three concerns were the systems protecting state’s judicial branch, the Board of Equalization and the Public Utilities Commission.

While Howle told the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection and Select Committee on Cybersecurity that the concerns from the summer remained largely unchanged, Robinson contended that Howle had exaggerated the problems.

A spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown administration told CalWatchdog that the administration would work to fill the position “as quickly as possible.”

Robinson was promoted to the post in May 2013.


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  1. Queeg
    Queeg 16 March, 2016, 23:20


    A promotion will be hence………..forth

    Reply this comment
  2. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 17 March, 2016, 21:16

    Don’t laugh…That is Teddy Steals wife..a trough feeder of course 😉

    Reply this comment

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