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Fri September 24 2021

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Aecom helps Houston protect against cyberattacks

27 Jul 18 Aecom has been taking part this week in a three-day exercise aimed at protecting the US city of Houston from potential cyberattacks on infrastructure.

The city and multiple public and private sectors at the local, state, and federal level are participating in the Jack Voltaic 2.0 (JV2.0) cyber research project, the first combined cyber and incident response exercise in the state of Texas.

Aecom’s role is as infrastructure resilience advisor; other key partners are the Army Cyber Institute at West Point as Cyber Research Coordinator and Circadence, providing the cyber virtual environment.

The exercise assembled representatives from the education, emergency management, energy, healthcare, military, public utilities, telecommunications, and transportation sectors. It simulated two simultaneous incidents – a natural disaster and a cyberattack – and examine the challenges those incidents place on critical infrastructure, while assessing response capability, agency collaboration, communications interoperability, and military integration.

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The JV2.0 research project and exercise are intended to improve preparation for and response to cyberattacks. Primarily, JV2.0 will study the interconnection of critical infrastructure, assessing gaps in cybersecurity capabilities and the impact of physical infrastructure degradation on an interconnected, networked environment, and vice versa.

The research project is intended to help develop best practices and a framework template to set a foundation for local governments as well as a statewide incident response programme.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said: “Our city is the ideal location to conduct this research to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond, and recover from threats and hazards that can affect not only our community but the impacts they have on the nation’s critical infrastructure. Houston has a long-standing partnership with our public and private sectors to identify and insure a thorough understanding of risks and determining capabilities in order to address those risks for the sake of keeping public safety a main priority and minimize disruption for our city’s massive economic contributions.”

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