What this city is doing to fight cyberattacks

When you picture Los Angeles, what do you envision? Chances are you think of warm weather and celebrities — not cyberattacks.

But Los Angeles' position as the U.S.' second largest city and major shipping port through which 43 percent of imported goods enter the country mark it as one of the world's biggest targets for cyberattacks. Los Angeles' CIO Ted Ross told Computerworld the city receives approximately 100 million automated cyberattacks each month.

Calling the city "very progressive" in terms of cybersecurity, Mr. Ross outlined a few of the city's key tactics in approaching the millions of cyberthreats it receives.

Near the end of 2015, the city built a $1.8 million, 24/7 Integrated Security Operations Center. Mr. Ross did not disclose its location. Eight analysts on each shift at the center are responsible for tracking 240 million cybersecurity logs each day. Last February alone, the analysts identified 16 ransomware attacks in five of the city's departments. "We identified the attacks across the departments, segmented them off, didn't lose any data and didn't pay any ransom," Los Angeles Chief Information Security Officer Timothy Lee said.

The city also does business with FireEye, a cybersecurity company, and utilizes Amazon Web Services' GovCloud to share its techniques with other cities' governments. In addition, Los Angeles shares the information it gathers on cyberthreats with the FBI, the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security.

"The cybersecurity problem is an immense one, but security is like insurance," said Mr. Ross. "If an attack happens, you are a genius for preparing, but if you did nothing, you'd be responsible. We do not have a false sense of security."

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