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Cybersecurity at the City of Long Beach

Release Date: 2021-10-28

As the number of cyberattacks has increased over the last few years, cyber risk management has become a top priority for the City of Long Beach. The City is engaging many different strategies to secure infrastructure, devices, and networks.  Specifically, the Technology and Innovation Department is involved in the following cybersecurity mitigation efforts.

  • Shoring up our cyber security systems by installing new scanning software that reviews incoming emails for threats.
  • Completing regular risk assessments based on industry standards to make sure the City maintains a strong security posture.
  • Sending regular cyber tips and tests to City employees to maintain awareness of the latest cyber threats.
  • Implementing new technology to protect the City’s networks and systems.
  • Partnering with Department of Homeland Security and other regional partners to continually exchange threat intelligence and stay apprised of any attacks.

As part of this year’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month the Technology and Innovation Department encourages the business community and residents to stay alert to malicious cybersecurity trends.

Information for the Small Business Community

Regardless of industry or size, the following tips can be useful in safeguarding a business from malicious cyber activity.

  • Maintain data backups with at least one copy in a secure location offsite from the business location. 
  • Ensure all software is updated regularly by enabling automatic patch updates to ensure systems are secure from the most current threats.
  • Develop an emergency operating plan in case you cannot access your systems and/or data for an extended period of time.
  • Work with your CPA and an independent cyber security consultant to regularly test your systems to ensure they are secure. Typically, CPAs can refer you to reputable cyber consultants.
  • If you are a business that provides guest WiFi for your customers, make sure your guest WiFi network is separate from your business/financial network. Your Internet Service Provider can help you to partition the network.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Technology Agency (CISA) has significant resources and tip sheets available to help community members and businesses on their Small Business Resources site.  The resources include a Cybersecurity Resources Roadmap to help businesses assess where they are in the process of addressing cybersecurity issues for the technology used in their businesses.

Information for Individual Community Members

As technology becomes such an integral part of our personal and business lives, it is critical that cybersecurity issues are considered and addressed to ensure that your personal information stays secure. There are many ways to address these issues such as:

Protect Yourself on the Go

Today, most of Long Beach’s community members are using mobile devices. We use them to access our banking institutions, to do online shopping and to connect with family, friends and professional colleagues through social networking. Most of these activities require users to provide personal information such as their names, account numbers, addresses, email addresses and passwords. Moreover, apps routinely ask for access to information stored on the device, including location information. In addition, the use of unsecured, public Wi-Fi hotspots has increased dramatically over the past few years Wi-Fi hotspots are now accessible at a variety of public spaces such as airplanes, in coffee shops, shopping malls, and at sporting events just to name a few. While continued access to the Internet provides us with more flexibility and convenience to stay connected, no matter where we are, it can also make us more susceptible to exposure. The more we travel and access the Internet on the go, the more risks we face on our mobile devices.

No one is exempt from the threat of cybercrime, at home or on the go, but you can follow these simple tips to stay safe online when connecting to the Internet from a mobile device:

  • Think Before You Connect. Before you connect to any public Wi-Fi hotspot–like on an airplane or in an airport, hotel, train/bus station or café-be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Using your mobile network connection is generally more secure than using a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Guard Your Mobile Device. Never leave your mobile device, or USB/external storage devices unattended in a public place. Be alert in order to prevent theft, unauthorized access or loss of sensitive information. While traveling, if you plan on leaving any devices in your hotel room, make sure those items are appropriately secured.
  • Keep Your Mobile Device Locked. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recommends locking your device when you are not using it. Even if you only step away for a few minutes, that is enough time for someone to steal or destroy your information. Use strong PINs and passwords to prevent others from accessing your device.
  • Update Your Mobile Software. Treat your mobile device like your home or work computer. Keep your operating system software and apps updated, which will improve your device’s ability to defend against malware.
  • Only Connect to the Internet if Needed. Disconnect your device from the Internet when you aren’t using it and make sure your device isn’t programmed to automatically connect to Wi-Fi. The likelihood that attackers will target you becomes much higher if your device is always connected.
  • Know Your Apps. Be sure to thoroughly review the details and specifications of an application before you download it. Be aware that the app may request that you share your personal information and permissions. Delete any apps that you are not using to increase your security.