Ron Sharon

Cybersecurity and Technology Leader

New York Leaders Announce New Cybersecurity Precautions To Ward Off Potential Payback By Russian Hackers – CBS New York

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — To prepare for possible Russian cyberattacks, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams have opened a first-of-its-kind command center in Brooklyn to oversee cybersecurity across the state.

As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday, it’s especially important after both the MTA and the city Law Department were hacked last year.

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We have a subway system that moves millions of people a day, Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, a sensitive electric grid, the headquarters of many major corporations. The city is a target-rich environment that, given the rising tensions in Eastern Europe, could prove hard to resist for Russian cyberhackers intent on payback.

“The threat of cyberattacks is very real, particularly now. That is the warning we are receiving out of Washington, particularly for a place like New York,” Hochul said.

“If we don’t get a handle on cybersecurity, what COVID did to our bodies, cybersecurity is going to disrupt the anatomy of our city and our state,” Adams added.

Shortly after President Joe Biden announced heavy sanctions against Russia, Hochul, Adams and mayors from across the state announced the opening of a joint security operations center in Brooklyn to combat cyberthreats.

Hochul said she has been in constant contact with Washington to discuss the real concern that Russian hackers will try to disrupt things here.

“Sometimes, for every action there’s a reaction. Shame on us if we’re not anticipating and watching what’s happening across the globe,” Hochul said.

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The governor made the comparison to the terror attacks on 9/11, equating the efforts we made to ward of physical terror attacks to the need to protect our businesses and critical infrastructure.

“We’re on notice what they can do to dismantle our communications systems, our 911 system, our transportation network. They all run on technology. You disrupt that technology, that connectivity, there is an opportunity for rather cataclysmic consequences,” Hochul said.

The joint command center will have 117 desks for state, local and federal officials to assess and monitor potential threats in real time. They will also be able to streamline threat intelligence and responses in the event of a significant cyberattack.

Officials say hackers make hundreds and hundreds of attempts to get into our systems every day. Last year, the city Law Department was breached. A hacking group believed to have links to the Chinese government penetrated the MTA last April.

“Another danger, China and Russia may actually work together. They seem to have a very cozy relationship at the moment,” said Annemarie McAvoy of Clovis Quantum Solutions.

McAvoy, a cybersecurity expert, said officials should also be on the lookout for attacks on soft targets.

“Potentially, the hospitals. They probably aren’t as strong in their defenses as some other places, like the New York Stock Exchange,” McAvoy said.

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The state is looking to hire 70 technology experts to help man the center.