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Utah state computer systems reportedly experience as many as 300 million hacking attempts a day due to the NSA’s data center located in the state. Computer systems in Utah first began experiencing hacks in the wake of Edward Snowden’s 2013 NSA revelations. “In 2010, my IT director was letting me know that the number of attacks we were averaging a day were between 25,000 to 80,000,” explained Keith Squires, Utah commissioner of public safety. “We had peaks in the past year or so that were over 300 million a day.”

State officials say that most attacks are done by botnets which set in motion hacking programs with the goal of searching for signs of weakness in government computer programs. These botnets look for vulnerabilities in Utah state computer systems because according to Neil Wyler, a self-proclaimed punk hacker turned cybersecurity expert, it makes sense for hackers to break into the state computer systems due to their connection with the NSA, Hill Air Force Base and tech firms. Once inside the systems, cybercriminals can then attempt to access some of the world’s most secretive information held by the NSA. While this is certainly a scary thought, experts on the matter say the hackers are wasting their time because the state and federal systems are “totally separate.” Regardless, it seems that hackers will continue trying.

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