This post originally appeared on the Louisiana Technology Park blog.
More Louisiana businesses should team up with other companies and law enforcement to combat cybersecurity threats in Louisiana, an FBI agent with a long history fighting Internet crimes told Baton Rouge security professionals Wednesday.
The presentation by FBI Special Agent Corey Harris came at the Geaux Cyber community meetup at Louisiana Technology Park. The group was created to connect the growing cybersecurity community in south Louisiana.
Harris is the acting cyber supervisor for the FBI’s New Orleans Division and has led the investigation and prosecution of high-profile cybercrimes in Louisiana and beyond since 2003. He outlined some existing cybersecurity collaborations in Louisiana, including Infragard, a partnership between the FBI and the private sector to share information about cybersecurity threats. But he said additional partnerships are needed to combat cyberthreats.
“We all need to come together as a community and really work and help each other,” Harris said. “Because if not, the bad guys are going to win.”
Here are a few ways Harris said Louisiana companies can help reduce the risk of cyberattacks — both for their own organizations and the larger business community.
BY SHARING INFORMATION WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
Harris said that when he arrived in Louisiana in he discovered that most large companies were not working with each other to prevent cyber attacks. “Everybody wanted to do their own thing … and you’re not going to be able to keep up the way technology is evolving,” he said.
He said one of his first actions in the state was to gather large health care providers in a cybersecurity working group, an initiative he said has helped Louisiana companies share information and prevent cyber attacks even as health care breaches became more commonplace across the country.
He encouraged other Louisiana companies to forge agreements designed to share information on security threats. If necessary, he said, the organizations can sign memoranda of understanding stipulating that information shared through the partnerships stays within the group and can’t be used for a competitive advantage.
Another option, which Harris spearheads, is InfraGard, an association of representatives from businesses, academic institutions, and state and local law enforcement agencies dedicated to sharing information and intelligence to prevent hostile acts against the U.S. Members get access to a portal that shares information on cybersecurity threats, including up-to-date indicators that help administrators. The group also holds regular meetings across the state each year.
Wednesday’s meeting at the Louisiana Technology Park was one of the first gatherings for the Geaux Cyber meetup. One of the organizers, Ballast founder and CEO Brandon Reeves, said the group plans to meet at least quarterly to bring together local cybersecurity professionals. He said all skill levels are welcome to participate.
“The rason this group is together is for building a community in Baton Rouge of people that are subject-matter experts, that are professionals, that are interested in cybersecurity to really start bringing that awareness,” Reeves said. “Because regardless of where you’re at or what business you’re in, everybody is having the same issues. We’re all fighting the same problems, and it’s probably easier for us to lock arms and fight them together rather than fight them alone.”