The constitution mandates the federal government protect US citizens from enemies foreign and domestic. It must stop cyber-criminals.

As every aspect of our lives moves to the cyber realm, it is incumbent on our government to protect everyone and make it known to these criminals that they will pay a price.”

— Mark Pukita

DUBLIN, OHIO, USA, May 13, 2021 / — Mark Pukita states, “One of the few constitutional responsibilities of the federal government is to protect its citizens from enemies foreign and domestic. We read daily of American businesses, infrastructure, and private citizens who have been victims of cyber-crime. These cyber-intrusions, like the one currently affecting the Colonial pipeline, impact millions of Americans and can cripple our economy. Which of us hasn’t received a letter indicating a service we use was compromised and our personal data stolen?

We need to change how we view these intrusions. If a foreign entity, whether sanctioned by a government or simply operating in a foreign country, flew a drone into our airspace and used it to rob or do physical harm to a US citizen, we would shoot it down and go after the people responsible. Why is cyber-intrusion any different? These are increasingly serious, invasive crimes, and can be disastrous disruptions of Americans’ lives.

We must look at these crimes differently, not deferring responsibility to businesses and individuals as the Biden administration is doing. Today, we take personal precautions, and US businesses spend billions of dollars on cyber protection. Yet, only the federal government has the advanced technology, capability, and jurisdiction to find these criminals and bring them to justice. We need new thinking about how we deploy these advanced resources to not just protect the federal government but all Americans – private and commercial. As every aspect of our lives moves to the cyber realm, it is incumbent on our government to protect everyone and make it known to these criminals that they will pay a price.

When was the last time you saw a cyber-criminal exposed and brought to justice for a specific hack on a business or large group of individuals? We must treat these people as we treat terrorists. Find them and make examples of them so others think twice about consequences of hacking Americans and American businesses. If we continue to ignore these crimes, there will be more until they become intolerable or there is a major disaster that we can’t ignore. To avoid disaster, we must face it now. This is war, and we must think of it that way.”

Pukita emphasized, “I am uniquely qualified to lead on the issue of cyber-crime and its intrusion into the lives of Ohioans, US citizens, and businesses. I have a summa cum laude degree in Electrical Engineering from The Ohio State University, started my career at IBM, and built a technology services firm from scratch, employing 1000s of people over more than 25-years. I understand technology better than any other candidate running for this office.”

Ohioans were recently made aware of a huge fraud being perpetrated by cyber-criminals. Ohioans filing for unemployment benefits through the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) are the target. It has been reported that one in five unemployment claims are fraudulent. “And those are just the ones we know about,” said Pukita.

After being affected by their identity theft at ODJFS, one of Pukita’s senior campaign staff members spent hours on the phone with ODJFS employees and was surprised to find it was virtually impossible to speak to anyone in their fraud department to reset the ODJFS account back to his own name and email address.

Said Pukita’s staff member, “All you can do is file an identity theft report which, thankfully, prevents any checks from being mailed to the cyber-criminal but you cannot talk to anyone in the fraud department because they are overwhelmed. Again, this is just for the people who become aware their identity was stolen. If my employer had not notified me, I would probably never have known, and the cyber-criminal would have collected the checks in my name. After the cyber-criminal uses the stolen identity to set up their own email address as the primary contact email with ODJFS, you cannot reach anyone to have it reset – and you can’t reset it yourself. My emails begging for help bounced back with a message saying the fraud department mailbox was full. Their systems are overwhelmed and primitive.”

ODJFS has one of the largest technology budgets of any Department in the State of Ohio. Governor Mike DeWine has the ultimate responsibility for managing ODJFS.

Briefed on the details, Pukita was astonished. “Can you imagine a bank or financial institution with a fraud department so overwhelmed it cannot speak to its customers? The federal government would fine them and/or take away their charter. Cyber-crimes like this are happening every day across the US, affecting all levels of government, businesses, and individuals. It is completely unacceptable and must be addressed with a new way of thinking. Mike DeWine is incapable of this.”

Pukita wants the federal government to take more responsibility to protect the vast sums it is providing the states. “By pouring money into our states, the federal government is making departments like ODJFS a lucrative target for cyber criminals. These criminals know states have backward, primitive systems of protection and identification and they are taking full advantage of it. I doubt we even know how many billions of taxpayer money is being wasted on cyber-crime and where this money is going – probably to criminals in Russia, China, or Iran. Who knows?”

Pukita concludes, “Complex problems like this will be solved when American voters stop electing career politicians and start electing people like me, ‘Citizen Candidates’ who have real world experience.”

Mark Pukita
+1 614-946-0949
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May 13, 2021, 19:41 GMT

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