R.I. forms cybersecurity partnership


State officials unveiled yesterday a new team of law enforcement officers, emergency planners, academics, and private businesses aimed at taking down threats to cyber security and tackling cyber attacks when they happen.

Members of the new Rhode Island Cyber Disruption Team said the partnership is a model for other states trying to pool resources in and out of government to address cybersecurity problems.

“Rhode Island is really leading the country,” said J. David Smith, executive director of the state Emergency Management Agency. “Cyber is just one of those elements of the state’s emergency operations plan that we can’t ignore. It has to be a high-profile focus.”

US Representative Jim Langevin announced the team at a press conference at Dell SecureWorks in Providence. Langevin is cofounder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, and Dell SecureWorks is also a member of the team.

The eight people named to the team include four state and local police officers, two academics, and representatives from the state Emergency Management Agency and the Providence Information Technology Department.

The team has financial support from the State Police and emergency management officials, but no money has been set aside specifically for this effort, said State Police Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell.

The team is responsible for evaluating the state’s computer infrastructure, identifying weaknesses, and proposing solutions to problems. It also will act as a resource for officials in the event of a cybersecurity crisis.

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