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City of Los Angeles Teams Up with IBM to Fight Cybercrime

The City of Los Angeles and IBM are joining forces with the LA Cyber Lab to help local businesses combat cybercrime.

In a new project announced by IBM Security on September 17, the American multi-national IT company will provide technologies and data that will give the city's commercial movers and shakers an edge in the event of a cyber-attack.

As part of the project, business owners will be able to access two new free tools made available by the LA Cyber Lab, a non-profit providing threat intelligence to local businesses. 

The first tool is a mobile application that any citizen can use to submit and analyze suspicious emails to determine their risk and if they are phishing attacks. The second tool, and the real centerpiece of this collaborative effort, is the cloud-based Threat Intelligence Sharing Platform (TISP), developed in collaboration with TruSTAR

Functioning as a kind of digital neighborhood watch, TISP will allow users to circulate their spear-phishing concerns and educate themselves on the latest business email compromise (BEC) or ransomware campaigns. 

A neat feature of the platform is that it reviews suspicious emails submitted by users, extracting key information and searching over 25 common and unique data sources, to indicate the level of risk posed. It can also correlate key information in the email to the associated threat group and their latest attack campaign. 

"Public safety in the 21st century isn't just about protecting our physical streets and neighborhoods—we need to protect the digital presence that is part of everyday life for our residents and businesses," said Los Angeles' mayor, Eric Garcetti. 

"The Threat Intelligence Sharing Platform and mobile app will advance the LA Cyber Lab's work that has made our city a national cybersecurity model, all while better defending Angelenos from cyber-threats." 

In a bid to help other cities in the US know what to do in the event of a cyber-attack, IBM is hosting three complimentary training sessions for municipalities in the IBM X-Force Command Cyber Range in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

At each of the sessions, which will take place on October 22, November 19, and December 10, 2019, attendees will experience a simulated attack in order to practice their response. 

The attack may be simulated, but the threat is very real. In this year alone, more than 70 American cities have become the victims of ransomware. 

Kevin Albano, associate partner, IBM Security Services, IBM Security, said: "While a collaboration like this takes time and the right partners, the process itself was refreshing as a result of the city’s eagerness and dedication to improving cybersecurity for the area. The development of the LA Cyber Lab two years ago was the first real push in the right direction, and the development of these solutions is only continuing that goal and leading the charge for other cities to become more prepared."

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