Officials: New Mississippi Cyber Unit will strengthen state’s ability to fight ever-increasing cyber threats

Published 1:06 pm Friday, January 20, 2023

Mississippi officials say the formation of the new Mississippi Cyber Unit will prepare the state for ever0-increasing threats to security.

Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety Sean Tindell and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety announced the establishment of the new unit and the appointment of Bobby Freeman as its first Director.

The Mississippi Cyber Unit – a component of the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security — will be the state’s centralized cybersecurity threat information, mitigation, and incident reporting and response center.

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“Cyber threats are rapidly increasing across the globe. Mississippi takes these threats seriously and recognizes that there’s never been a more important time to ensure that our state and her people are protected,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “The creation of the Mississippi Cyber Unit is another major step forward in our state’s ongoing effort to counter these emerging threats. Director Freeman and the new unit are well positioned to strengthen our state’s cybersecurity.”

The ability to provide a trustworthy and stable cyber environment is vital to the success of Mississippi, officials said.

This unit will be made up of specialists who focus on preparedness and response. The strategic plan for the Mississippi Cyber Unit will be focused on monitoring and identifying threats to Mississippi networks, sharing real-time threat intelligence, and providing support to cyber incidents within the state.

“As we navigate an increasingly connected and digital world, the importance of strong cybersecurity cannot be overstated. I am excited to announce the appointment of Bobby Freeman as the first Director of the Mississippi Cyber Unit within the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security,” said Executive Director of Homeland Security, Baxter Kruger. “Director Freeman has a bevy of experience and is well-positioned to build the newly created Mississippi Cyber Unit. Addressing threats to Mississippi’s critical infrastructure and her citizens is my office’s primary focus and I am confident that under Bobby’s leadership Mississippians will be better protected from cyber threats than ever before.”

Prior to joining the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, Freeman served full-time as the Cyber Operations Officer for the Mississippi Army National Guard. With the Mississippi Army National Guard, Freeman mobilized to Iraq in 2009 with the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team as the Company Commander for the Brigade’s Signal Company. He also mobilized domestically with the Mississippi Army National Guard’s Cyber Protection Team detachment in 2018 and 2021. Freeman has over 20 years of military experience in information technology and security. He earned his Master of Science in Cybersecurity from Liberty University in 2020 and a B.A. from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2005. He has received extensive information technology and cybersecurity training through the military and currently holds industry certifications including CompTIA’s Advanced Security Practitioner, Security+, and the EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker.

“I am looking forward to serving the people of Mississippi as the Cyber Director for the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security and working with local, state, and federal partners to enhance the cybersecurity capabilities of our community to combat the threats that exist within the cyber domain,” said Director Freeman.