New York City is the first city in the U.S. to open its own operational cybersecurity defense center. Located in lower Manhattan, this real-time operational center is the first of its kind.
According to the The Wall Street Journal, the center employs around 282 partners comprised of government agencies and private businesses such as the New York Police Department (NYPD), Amazon, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), the Federal Reserve Bank and several New York health care systems. With that many partners, relevant parties can more easily share cyber threat information and start mitigating cyberattacks on-site.
In 2017, discussions started about how New York City would respond to a cyberattack, and by 2019, the New York City Cyber Critical Services and Infrastructure (NYC CCSI) projects launched virtually. A cyberattack on a city could take out critical services such as transportation, hospital facilities, emergency systems and more. When faced with an immediate crisis, major cities like New York need to have an even faster response.
“Ransomware attacks are happening every 14 seconds,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said to The Wall Street Journal. Because New York City is such a main center of business and wealth for the U.S., it is more vulnerable to cyberattacks. The city’s sectors are all interconnected, which is why having a physical center is so crucial. “When one major piece of critical infrastructure is under attack, they’re all under attack,” said Miller.
News of the cybersecurity center comes amid a wave of attacks on national critical infrastructure and private industry, including hits on the Colonial Pipeline, global meat processor JBS and beverage maker Molson Coors, just to name a few. Whenever there is a cyberattack in the country, the New York initiative partners will share information with the center as soon as the event starts. Therefore, the center can track if New York might be a target, prepare for a potential attack and react quicker.
Not only does the center actively work on responding to threats, but it also trains people to know how to take charge as an attack is happening. The partners hold what are called “war games,” where they practice defending their own systems against attacks. This way, they will have a better chance to defend their systems as an attack is happening rather than being caught off guard and having to do damage control later. This opening is a huge step toward better cybersecurity practices.