JERSEY CITY, NJ - The Jersey City government has been countering 1,000 cyber-attacks a week, Mayor Steven Fulop reported recently, lending support to his Administration's efforts to protect this critical infrastructure. “During COVID-19, that number has dramatically risen to an average of 13,000 attacks a week as cyber terrorists recognize that employees working from their home computers might provide easy access to our city’s infrastructure. That means, in 2020 alone, we will have defended more than half a million attempts to access privileged and private information that If gotten into the wrong hands, could ruin lives.”  

While this is not a topic highlighted in political speeches, residents should know this is a priority since his first election in 2013.

“As a city, we not only made a significant financial commitment to build the most sophisticated cyber defenses to protect our residents, but we’re also the only municipal police department on the eastern seaboard with police officers assigned to the FBI Cyber Security Task Force,” Fulop said, noting that public safety also includes protecting resident’s personal information. “A cyber attack that compromises this type of trusted knowledge can damage our residents just as severely as a physical attack. This is not a responsibility to take lightly. As the world changes and we become more connected with technology, we also become more vulnerable and this needs to be taken as seriously as physical security. “

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While cybersecurity is a rapidly changing space, there is one thing that all the experts can agree on: if your local government is not making a proactive investment on the cybersecurity front, then it is just a matter of time before your city is breaking the bad news to its residents that their personal information is on the dark web, followed by a conversation around taxpayer dollars being used to pay ransomware as a result of cyber terrorism, Fulop said. “We as a city government are becoming more sophisticated with our cybersecurity defenses and at the same time, we are also seeing cyber terrorists becoming more sophisticated with their attacks to challenge our systems. As an example, in recent months, Jersey City saw two professional-grade attacks on our network that had they not been detected, would have crippled major parts of our city’s infrastructure. Think about that: if not for the necessary resources in place, our City could have been crippled during a global health crisis.”  

Fulop said Jersey City is prepared to deal with these challenges.

“Any attempt to attack our network is obviously illegal and malicious, and unless law enforcement remains at the very cutting edge of these threats, which change almost daily, we risk being ever-increasingly vulnerable,” Fulop said. “The Cyber Security Task Force brings to bear the full resources of the FBI and its partner agencies around the globe, and the assigned JCPD personnel work daily to proactively defend against known threats to governmental and business computer networks from both domestic and international criminal actors and rival intelligence services. Additionally, they work to keep secure the personnel data of every American. When criminal or other nefarious activity is perpetrated, the Task Force investigates and, where possible, brings the actors to justice.”

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