In The News: New Massachusetts municipal cybersecurity program captures media’s attention at Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum

Boston Herald, StateScoop, State House News Service, AP
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Hundreds gathered across the state last week to participate in the first ever Massachusetts Cybersecurity Week. Speaking at the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum on Thursday, Governor Charlie Baker put a capstone on the week when he announced $300,000 in new funding for a program to help municipalities improve their cybersecurity resiliency. The program will be managed by the MassCyberCenter.

The Boston Herald covered Governor Baker’s remarks at the Forum, where he launched the new program focused on municipalities:

Baker unveiled a $300,000 program involving statewide workshops for municipalities to work with each other to bolster cybersecurity, which will be managed by the MassCyberCenter at the MassTech Collaborative, during a capstone event for the state’s third Cybersecurity Forum during the first Massachusetts Cybersecurity Week.

The governor painted a futuristic picture of smart buildings, autonomous cars and smart communities that aren’t too far away, adding that the state needs to be ready.

Senate President Karen Spilka, the former co-chair of the Mass TechHUB Caucus in the legislature did not mince words when talking about the seriousness of the threat facing Massachusetts cities and towns. As noted in the State House News Services’ coverage [Subscription required]:

“Our communities and businesses face a barrage of attempted ransomware attacks, hacks and data breaches daily. So it's not an exaggeration when I say that we're under siege and we need to be resilient and ready at all times. That means making sure that the vibrant state economy that we have has all the best minds and is in the best position to thwart these attacks…

The announcement by Governor Baker also received attention outside of the Commonwealth, with the Washington, D.C., publication StateScoop interviewing MassCyberCenter director Stephanie Helm on the new funding for the municipal planning program.

The national public policy website Government Technology also spoke with Helm, who stressed the importance of municipalities having a plan in place to deal with a cyberattack, stating that the new program will stress regional cooperation, particularly among small communities that may be resource constrained:

Helm said she hoped the program would also inspire collaboration and communication between different communities on issues of defense and security.    

"I think it's important that [municipalities] all know who their neighbors are," she said. "They can work on their own individual plans, but then [we hope] that when they meet their neighbor we hope that helps facilitate [information sharing and collaboration] if there's ever problems."   

The Associated Press also ran a brief article on the new program, a piece which was picked up locally by CBS Boston, Western Mass News, Salem News, and the Newburyport News, and nationally by Security Week, the Times Union, NY Daily News,  Chicago Tribune, Sun Sentinel, and the Seattle PI, among others.


Mass. Cybersecurity Forum 2019