Hudson Valley joins state cybersecurity defense operations center
Leaders from across Hudson Valley are applauding Gov. Kathy Hochul's plan to improve the state's cybersecurity defenses and the creation of a joint operations center to coordinate between government agencies, critical businesses and utilities.
State and local officials say with all that's happening between Russia and Ukraine, now is the time to really strengthen cybersecurity and that the best way to do that is work as a team. "Every one of us feels the imminent threats of any breach in cybersecurity," says Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.
It was just six months ago that Spano found out firsthand what it means to be under cyberattack. "Yonkers was hit with a vicious ransomware attack risking sensitive information within our municipal operations," says Spano.
The city's technology team was able to prevent information from being compromised. But as tensions continue to rise between Russia and Ukraine, so does the threat of cyberattacks in the U.S., especially for states like New York. "Our state and our cities will be taking a leading role in fortifying our defenses in the battlefield against cyberwarfare," says Spano.
That comes in the form of the newly launched joint security operations center set up in Brooklyn. Hochul said the first-in-the-nation cyber command center will have a staff of 70 — both in person and virtual — to provide "a centralized viewpoint of threat data" on the federal, state and local levels.
The idea is working together because there's strength in numbers. "The local governments, our cities and our counties, they're connected to our state operations - so an attack on them could lead to a larger attack and disruption of service from the state as well," explains Spano.
Spano says New York's bigger cities like Yonkers are playing a lead role in this new approach to cybersecurity and the feeling is every municipality will benefit. "Yonkers will have some of the most brilliant minds and resources that will be at our fingertips in our IT departments."