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New York state, top cities to fight cybersecurity threats from downtown Brooklyn

New York state is partnering with its six largest cities to open a joint command center meant to foster collaboration in fighting cybersecurity threats, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday.

The Joint Security Operations Center will be housed at the MetroTech Center complex in downtown Brooklyn, where Hochul was joined by New York City Mayor Eric Adams. The mayors of Buffalo, Yonkers, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany are also on board with the effort.

The creation of the center comes as Hochul has tried to put a public focus on the possibility of a cyberattack in New York during a time of geopolitical unrest, with the state and city’s transportation systems and power grids serving as potential targets for international hackers.

Hochul said the state moved to open the facility immediately given Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine, saying enemies of the U.S. know they are “attacking the American way of life if you attack New York State and New York City.”

“This is the time to do this, because if not now, when?” she said. “We have to be aware of the threats around us.”

Hochul said she has not been made aware of any increase in attempted cyberattacks in recent weeks. But the White House had recently warned governors across the country to be alert given the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Hochul said.

The center will be staffed by federal, state and city law enforcement officials, including the New York City Cyber Command, according to Adams’ office. Local and county officials will also have access to the center, which will centralize telemetry data used to monitor threats across the state.

“We are so connected to technology that it can disrupt our way of life,” Adams said. “And we’re talking about a continuous onslaught by those who are attempting to do so.”

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