Security Breach: Municipalities and the Cyberattack Threat
Local governments around the world have increasingly become common targets of cyberattack over the last several years. Studies in the United States have indicated that local governments are, on the one hand, regularly under attack and, on the other, not keeping up to date with cybersecurity best practices. Many municipalities across Canada are equally vulnerable and suffer from capacity and knowledge gaps in trying to protect their organizations.
On March 1, a panel of academics and practitioners examined the growing threat of cyberattack to local governments in Canada and other parts of the world. How do municipalities need to adjust process and existing practices? What is the risk? What are the costs of action/inaction? Where do municipalities start to ensure they are protected?
This panel discussion was the third in a series of three events examining how municipalities in Canada are confronting issues related to new developments in technology and the use of data. You can view the first event on the platform economy here as well as the second on smart cities here.
Kush M. Sharma is the Director, Municipal Modernization & Partnerships for the Municipal Information Systems Association of Ontario. Prior to this, he served as the inaugural Chief Information Security Officer for the City of Toronto and inaugural global Security & Compliance executive for Saputo. As a Management Consultant with Accenture and Deloitte, he was an advisor to 50+ organizations from the Fortune 500 to SME, to all three levels of government. In 2020, he was named Global Enterprise CIO of the year.
Laura Mateczun, JD, is a PhD student in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she is writing her dissertation on local government cybersecurity. She received a Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity Strategy & Policy from UMBC in 2021. She has also co-authored four peer-reviewed articles and delivered numerous presentations on the results of the first-ever nationwide survey on local government cybersecurity. She is a 2014 graduate of the University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law and is a member of the Maryland Bar.
Sumit Bhatia is the Director of Innovation and Policy at the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst where he heads both the Catalyst Cyber Accelerator, Canada's first Cybersecurity-specific business accelerator for start-ups and scale-ups, and Catalyst’s small and medium-businesses initiatives including the creation and launch of Simply Secure, a cyber awareness and readiness program specifically designed for small and medium businesses across Canada. He also leads the Catalyst’s work with the Cybersecure Policy Exchange, a national policy and research enterprise dedicated to advancing effective and innovative public policy in cybersecurity and digital privacy.
Zachary Spicer is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at York University in Toronto, Canada. He previously served as the Director of Research and Outreach with the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC). He began his career as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Brock University and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy at Wilfrid Laurier University and at IMFG after earning his PhD from the Department of Political Science at The University of Western Ontario. His research centres on Canadian local government and innovation policy.