Amidst Increasing Threats, New York Boosts Cybersecurity Preparedness and Readiness

Cybersecurity is once again taking center stage in Albany. Amidst warnings from Washington instructing public and private sector entities brace for possible cyberattacks in the coming weeks, New York State is reassessing capabilities in combating threats from Russia and other hostile entities. On Sunday, Governor Kathy Hochul convened a cabinet meeting to discuss critical cybersecurity infrastructure and the state’s preparedness. The meeting will likely be the first in many conversations on bolstering New York defense systems in the coming months.

The Executive Budget released in January recommended doubling funding for cybersecurity protections, bringing the total investment to $62 million in State Fiscal Year 2023. The Governor has also encouraged individuals, not just corporations, to remain aware of cybersecurity, saying “New Yorkers should also remember they are vulnerable to cyberattacks on their personal devices, and I encourage them to use best practices around passwords and multi-factor authentication, and to make sure that older loved ones are protected from scams.”

While New York has long been a target of sophisticated cyber hacks from actors based both domestically and abroad due to the concentration of industry leaders in finance, technology, and healthcare, the geopolitical uncertainly surrounding Russia and the Ukraine, has increased the need for vigilance and additional expedited coordination between the public and private sectors. United States intelligence officials have accused Russia of being behind the recent cyberattack in Ukraine that compromised a variety of entities ranging from one of Ukraine’s largest banks to the Ministry of Defense. Governor Hochul, the Biden Administration, and other federal officials are sounding the alarm hope that proactive steps like the ones taken on Sunday shore up the nation’s cyber infrastructure and defense capabilities will be enough to prevent similar hacks from coming to the United States a result of our support for Ukraine.

“I cannot stress this enough: We urge our private sector partners to exercise incident response plans and put in place the cybersecurity defenses like encryption and multi-factor authentication that make cyber attacks harder for even sophisticated cyber actors.” said Hochul. The need for a public-private partnership is particularly important when it comes to cybersecurity. Much of the nation’s most important critical infrastructure, such as water systems, electrical grids, and hospitals, are not owned by the federal or state government.