GRIDSMART Technologies, Inc., has announced the formation of the GRIDSMART Information Security and Threat Intelligence Division (ISTI), an industry first-of-its-kind transportation cybersecurity group whose goal is to help transportation industry technology and infrastructure partners build proactive security programs for their organizations, including resilient recovery strategies. One of several professional services ISTI provides includes vulnerability and threat assessments and tailored security strategies to private companies, state and municipal Departments of Transportation (DOTs), and others working to proactively defend and enhance the resiliency of their technical infrastructure from cyber-atta.
ISTI will be led by Antonio Rucci, one of America’s most-respected cybersecurity experts who worked for two decades as a counterintelligence special agent, ultimately serving for six years at the White House before moving into the private sector.
Bill Malkes, Co-Founder and CEO of GRIDSMART, said the ISTI Division was born of necessity. “There is a clear and present danger of cyber-attacks and cyber espionage on our infrastructure daily. Mobility is a strategic area for the enemy to attack. True to core GRIDSMART values, we will be in front of this danger, providing those we serve with practical, simple, and implementable solutions,” he said. “On behalf of GRIDSMART, I am honored Tony Rucci is bringing his team to our cause in leading GRIDSMART’s Information Security and Threat Intelligence Division (ISTI).”
Under Rucci’s leadership, the Information Security and Threat Intelligence Division will work with organizations to uncover penetration points, secure systems, and design customized hack-resistant solutions to assure network integrity.
“Hackers are working tirelessly to discover weaknesses in our national infrastructure,” said Rucci. “In the cyber criminal’s mind, traffic management networks, connected and driverless vehicles, and the spectrum of transportation technologies offer the potential for maximum impact and profound harm. At ISTI, we’re committed to becoming a resource for our clients, helping them build incident response programs and teams; training them to build, exercise, and execute resilient disaster recovery strategies. Data breaches will happen. How you respond defines your company.”
As transportation and Smart City initiatives accelerate and the world becomes ever more connected, the implications of a cyber-attack are increasingly disturbing. In Washington, D.C. prior to last year’s presidential inauguration, suspected Romanian hackers infected and disabled 70 percent of the city’s closed-circuit cameras. Meanwhile, security services believe international terrorist organizations are monitoring autonomous vehicle developments and are considering using driverless vehicles in attacks.
The financial implications are also daunting. In November 2016, a hacker infected the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s payment systems and schedule monitors with ransomware, preventing the city from collecting $50,000 in fares before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and industry experts stepped in to help remediate the attack.
Malkes believes GRIDSMART’s Information Security and Threat Intelligence Division will not only position customers for the future, but also for right now. “We are not talking about an obscure, distant threat,” he said. “This is already happening and whether the attackers are individuals working in their basement or sophisticated international regimes, they can do incredible damage in an instant. In this battle, ISTI will be the Special Operators.”