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Hackers try to sneak into Connecticut's state computer systems 40 million times a year, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday, announcing a new cybersecurity protocol aimed at keeping state and regional utilities reliable in the 21st century.

Malloy, accompanied by electric utility executives, chose the Emergency Operations Center in the Gov. William A. O'Neill State Armory for an afternoon news conference to release the plan to help strengthen the state for a possible cyber attack.

"Fulfilling the promise of a more reliable energy future requires Connecticut to defend against possible future threats," Malloy said. "Just as a we needed to strengthen against possible damaging weather occurrences, we must now prepare for the possibility of disruption to our utilities and to our lifestyle, which a cyber intrusion can bring about."

Utility officials said that while thousands of cyber attacks occur annually, none have been successful in affecting the regional electrical grid.

Malloy said the 40 million cyber attacks on state-government computers include attempts to stealing basic agency information and obtain email lists.

"It can also be as sophisticated as someone trying to take down your system, and that has occurred," Malloy said.

©2014 the Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, Conn.)