While most major cities have stood up emergency response teams for natural disasters and terrorist incidents, few are prepared to meet the challenge of a cyber attack. Hampton, VA is attempting to set up a ‘Municipal Cyber Lab’ that could help war game solutions for municipalities to help prepare responses to cyber incidents.
This lab would simulate a municipality under a cyber attack. Currently municipalities have very robust teams and infrastructure to support emergencies of the physical type such as floods, hurricanes and fires,” said Bruce Sturk, director of Federal Facilities Support for Hampton.
“However, cyber attacks are usually addressed as administrative IT staffs function without the same level of attention, resources and processes that are associated physical threats. Risks to the community for cyber attacks are not identified nor incorporated in municipal emergency operations plans,” he said.
The Cyber Lab (Operational Integration Cyber Center of Excellence) has already been established with by-laws and articles of incorporation. The center will allow municipalities and states to explore cyber attack scenarios on a variety of sectors and capabilities and the best way to respond to the challenges.
“Governments are relying more and more on electronic methods and the public media to communicate with the public to communicate critical information especially during times of crisis. Cyber attacks coupled with the lack of authentication of critical messages could lead to putting the public at risk,” Sturk said.