Los Angeles launches first US city-based cyber lab

1st September 2017 Jonathan Andrews

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, has launched America’s first city-based Cyber Lab to help thwart cyber attacks against businesses and residents. The new lab places Los Angeles as one of the first cities in the US to share its cyber threat data with the public.

The lab, formed in partnership with Cisco, will disseminate information and intelligence based on analysis of more than 1 billion security-related events and over 4 million attempted intrusions into city networks each day. Previously, the city could only handle 45 million cyber security events a week.

“Members of the LA Cyber Lab will be able to exchange security alerts and threat intelligence, and update their systems accordingly,” Adam Gertz, from the Mayor’s Office, told Cities Today. “The goal here is to collaborate with businesses to find technology solutions that keep everyone safe.”

The lab will alert small and medium-sized business partners to attacks as they occur, and larger businesses can receive automated updates to their own cyber defence systems. There is no cost or obligation to join, of which 123 members have signed up so far.

The city envisages the platform will evolve into a mutual exchange of threat information with private sector partners, strengthening LA’s capacity to thwart cyber criminals.

Gertz explained that the city’s cyber security systems recently discovered a threat that was targeting financial institutions.

“Through our federal government partners, we were able to share this information with the targeted institutions, allowing them to protect themselves from attack,” he explained. “The LA Cyber Lab will accomplish the same goal on a local level.”

City officials hope the new lab will be a permanent institution that continues to work with the Los Angeles Community as cyber security threats evolve and use the Cyber Lab as an incubator for innovation in cyber security.

“The next phase of the lab will include a test bed for security vendors to test appliances and tools via virtual connections to a live but isolated city network–known colloquially as a ‘honeypot’,” added Gertz. “We will also partner with local universities to test populate the Innovation Incubator with student interns who can gain real world experience in a security environment.”

Garcetti also announced the formation of the LA Cyber Lab Advisory Board to be led by himself and Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco Systems, Inc.

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