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New York Opens Joint Security Operations Center in NYC

The "first-in-nation" cyber command center will provide municipal and local governments with threat intelligence and resources to defend themselves against cyberattacks.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Tuesday a Joint Security Operations Center to centralize threat data and enhance coordination on threat intelligence and incident response around the state. The cyber command center, based in New York City, will assist municipalities and local government entities in defending against cyber threats such as ransomware and potential nation-state activity, Hochul said at the event unveiling the center.

“We can’t expect cities and counties to go it alone,” Hochul said.

The goal is better threat intelligence collaboration, reduced response time, and faster remediation in the event of a major cyber incident. The new command center will centralize telemetry data, allowing officials to assess and monitor potential threats in real time, as well as streamline threat intelligence and responses in the event of a significant cyberattack.

New York City Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser said JSOC's creation could make New York "the most cyber-resilient state in the nation."

In the past, government entities frequently took an independent approach to defense and response. With attacks growing in frequency and sophistication, defense requires "a whole-of-government approach," First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo said at the event.

The newly established cyber command center will provide local governments with threat intelligence and resources. The JSOC will serve as the "nerve center for local joint cyber efforts, state and federal," the governor wrote on Twitter.

While the JSOC will be physically located in Brooklyn, the initiative involves six mayors — New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano — as well as other security leaders across the state. While there have been previous efforts to establish partnerships on the state and federal level, New York's JSOC will be the "first-in-the-nation" extending to the municipal, local, and authority levels, Hochul said.

When Albany was hit by ransomware in 2019, the state Office of Information Technology Services helped the city with remediation and recovery, Sheehan, the city's mayor, said during the event.

"We as cities can't do this ourselves. The state was there alongside us when we had our cyberattack. We know the bench strength," Sheehan said.

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Jen Easterly praised the effort on Twitter. "A complex & evolving cyber threat landscape requires a unified response, & I'm thrilled to see this effort taking off," she wrote. "Collaboration between local, state, federal & private sector players is EXACTLY how we successfully ensure the resilience of our businesses & orgs."