Hochul, Adams intro new cyber security center amid Russian conflict

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Mayor Eric Adams announces the new Cyber Security Center in Brooklyn. Photo by Ethan Stark Miller

Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams today announced the opening of a new cyber security hub at 11 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn to coordinate cyber protections around the state as tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue to escalate.

“The threat of cyber terrorism is very real, particularly now,” Hochul said. “That is the warning we’re receiving out of Washington. Particularly for a place like New York. And  therefore our state and our cities will be taking a leading role in fortifying our defenses in the battlefield against cyber warfare.”

The pair announced the newThe Joint Security Operations Center (JSOC) in partnership with Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan, Yonkers mayor Mike Spano and Syracuse mayor Ben Walsh.

Hochul said JSOC’s goal is to coordinate cybersecurity across New York’s various municipalities by fostering data sharing and bringing experts together under one roof, so no one city or town is left vulnerable to cyber attacks.

“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,” Hochul said. “This is going to be the nerve center for our cyber operation. We bring all the together. The resources, the data sharing, that has been going on in silos for far too long.”

The center was announced as the threat of Russia invading Ukraine becomes more and more imminent. Soon before the center was unveiled President Joe Biden announced a fresh round of harsh sanctions against Russia, following a speech from Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday where he announced he’d be moving troops into occupied portions of eastern Ukraine.

Adams said before he took office last month, then Mayor Bill de Blasio warned him that – even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on – his biggest challenge would be protecting the city from cyber attacks.

“Technology, if we like it or not, is at the heart of everything we do,” Adams said. “Running water, electricity. Everyday, we start our day by picking up our phones. We do our banking online. We communicate with our children (online). We run our city on technology and when you hack that technology, you are hacking our entire city.”

The center will be staffed by NYC3 – which coordinates the city’s cyber security, state and federal law enforcement officials and representatives from local governments across the state. Hochul also said she’s looking to hire 70 more cyber security officials and possibly recruit students from SUNY to help staff JSOC. 

Adams said the city would also be partnering with the CUNY system to bring more young people into cyber security careers.

“The governor has continued to say in what I agree with, we need to break down the silos of government,” Adams said. “We must collaborate together to deal with these important issues. We must streamline how government can bring every agency up to the standard of excellence that we need to fight this threat.”