NYC launches cyberdefense center amid major ransomware attacks

Amid growing ransomware attacks, New York City is the first major metro region in the US to launch a cyberdefense center, one that is, in this case, located in a Manhattan skyscraper. A mix of private and government entities are working together to help prevent similar future cyberattacks, including everything from Amazon to the NYPD.

The new cyberdefense center represents an evolution of the fully virtual New York City Cyber Critical Services and Infrastructure initiative, according to the Wall Street Journal. The new cyberdefense center has 282 partners that will work together to illuminate possible cybersecurity threats, helping protect the city and its critical infrastructure.

The new center is the result of years of talks and effort, according to the report — an effort that first led to the aforementioned online project launched in 2019. The growing number of ransomware attacks prompted the evolution in this initiative, better positioning the major metropolitan region to prevent and address cyberattacks that may threaten major businesses, financial hubs, and city infrastructure.

The report reveals that the cyberdefense center has already conducted their own version of "war games" at an IBM cyber range for practice using various systems to address cyberattacks. Likewise, the collective shares data amongst themselves whenever a cyberattack, such as ransomware, occurs anywhere in the US in order to ensure it doesn't spread into the city.

The announcement comes only weeks after the Colonial pipeline ransomware attack, which resulted in gas shortages in parts of the US. Though the cyberattack was eventually resolved, it required the company to pay a substantial ransom, only part of which was later recovered by the federal government.

Hospitals have likewise been hit with ransomware attacks that lock down their systems — in one particularly large case in Southern California, hospital officials were forced to switch to paper-based records and communication, severely limiting their ability to treat patients. Such attacks have the potential to shutdown large sectors of the US, representing a major threat to the nation.