NYC Installs Free Online Security

If you live in New York City, it’s time for you to start feeling safer online. Mayor de Blasio recently launched a new cybersecurity initiative called NYC Secure. The program, led by the New York City Cyber Command (NYC3), is aimed at protecting New Yorkers online. It’s the first program of its kind launched by any major city in the entire world. And the best part? It’s free for users!

Public Wifi

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NYC Secure will install cybersecurity programs that include a free city-sponsored smartphone protection application (app) and protection for its public Wi-Fi networks.

The phone app will warn a user when suspicious activity is detected on their mobile devices. The app will then recommend options to the user to help keep the user’s device safe, such as:

  • Disconnecting from a malicious Wi-Fi network
  • Navigating away from a compromised website
  • Uninstalling a malicious app

In addition, the app is designed to not access personally identifiable information and will not collect or transmit private data. The app was created in response to a rapidly growing use of mobile phones that connect to the Internet. According to a press release from the NYC mayor’s office, in early 2017, mobile phones accounted for 50% of Web traffic, and the average U.S. user spends over 5 hours a day on their smartphone.

According to Reuters, NYC will be using the domain name system (DNS) platform called Quad9 (a not-for-profit organization) to strengthen protection on the city’s Wi-Fi networks for residents, workers, and visitors to NYC. Quad9 will protect users when they access the Internet using the city guest wireless networks. The DNS platform blocks malicious domains such as malware and phishing sites that attempt to trick users into providing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or credit card details. Quad9 will not store or collect any personally identifiable information.

“New Yorkers manage so much of their lives online, from paying bills to applying for jobs to engaging with government. NYC Secure will ensure that we’re applying the best and most effective protection efforts to help New Yorkers defend themselves online,” said the mayor.

Is it reported by The Hill and Reuters that the NYC Secure program will cost the city about $5 million per year.