Emerging Issues in Security

Security in the Hands of Everyday People

The New York City Police Department is hiring civilians to analyze crime data, while the state of Illinois is taking steps to improve cybersecurity by training state employees to better safeguard information.

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Security goes beyond the bounds of the industry itself and spills into everyday life. Top-notch professionals put new technology in place to upgrade security, but ordinary people still remain a vital component in attaining a high level of protection. Throughout the country, a sentiment is emerging recognizing how security is in everyone’s best interest.

At the very least, thinking before clicking on a link is instilled in the minds of the masses, but mistakes are made, and new threats, viruses, and malware continue to infiltrate computers and access private data. Training is an essential practice that keeps security at the forefront to be able to catch suspect activity and provide a proactive defense against cyberattacks.

The state of Illinois is taking steps to improve the cybersecurity protection of the state’s digital assets and the personal information of its residents by making certain all state employees receive proper training. House Bill 2371 is an amendment to the state’s Data Security on State Computers Act, recently signed by Illinois governor Bruce Rauner, which requires annual cybersecurity training from the Department of Innovation and Technology for state employees.

Illinois is working on a complete digital transformation, according to Illinois Chief Digital Officer and Secretary Designate Hardik Bhatt, and it is very important that employees become a first line of defense when it comes to cybersecurity. The amendment requires that the education cover how to detect phishing scams, prevent spyware infections and identity theft, and prevent and respond to data breaches.

“Cybersecurity protection of our digital assets and the personal information of our residents is one of the most important public safety issues facing the state. It’s essential to keep the people of Illinois safe and to keep their privacy reserved, that we are at the forefront of cybersecurity,” Rauner said.

In New York City, police are turning to civilians to better analyze crime data. The New York City Police Department is planning to hire civilian crime analysts for commands in precincts across the five boroughs.

According to Chief Dermot Shea, the first 30 crime analysts completed 3 weeks of training in the department’s computer systems and data at the Police Academy recently. Most of the new hires have law enforcement and math and statistics backgrounds. They will be expected to make the department’s vast amounts of crime data easier to decipher and help the police solve more crimes.

Along with a uniformed officer and sergeant on the crime analysis team, Chief Shea said the civilian analysts will attempt to answer questions about crime patterns or how a suspect in one shooting is connected to another crime. “You’re talking about leveraging existing data and making it deliverable to the end user, stopping patterns at 20 hits before they become 40 hits, analyzing subpoena data en masse,” said Chief Shea.

The department plans to have a total of 100 civilian data analysts in place within the next 3 months.