New York Announces Free Cyber Security Tools to Prevent Hackers

Photo by Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916 from Flickr

On Thursday, officials said that New York City is set to offer free cybersecurity tools to the public as a part of its new effort to improve online safety. The said announcement comes a week after Atlanta was affected with a ransomware attack that resulted to some municipal systems going offline.

The program is dubbed as NYC Secure. At a news conference, Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York announced that the program would launch a free smartphone protection app to notify the users whenever suspicious activity is detected on their devices.

The New York Mayor stated: “New Yorkers aren’t safe online. We can’t wait around for other levels of government to do something about it or the private sector.”

He said that NYC Secure would cost the city approximately $5 million per year.

de Blasio added: “It’s our job in government to make sure that people are safe online. It’s a new reality.”

Agencies in the City will also improve the security protection on public Wi-Fi networks by the end of this year to protect workers, residents, and visitors.

The said networks will be secured using a tool that is called Quad9. It will be available to anyone who is in New York City and beyond at Quad9 routes the web traffic of user via servers that identify and block malicious email and sites.

NYC Secure was revealed as officials in Atlanta worked alongside technicians from various private security companies and federal law enforcement to investigate the origin of the attack that encrypted information on computers.

Felicia Moore, the Atlanta City Council President, said that she was waiting to hear more regarding how the hackers were able to breach city networks, the scope of the said attack and when the city services would become fully operational.

During a news conference, Moore stated: “Everybody in the public wants to know. I want to know, too.”

She added: “But I do think that we need to give them an opportunity to get the information.”

On Thursday, Atlanta reactivated a website that enables residents to report traffic signal outages, make requests for trash pickup, and request for other public works-related services.

However, on Thursday, services of the Municipal court remained offline, and employees of the City Hall informed Reuters that their work computers were still unusable a week following the discovery of the said hack.