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Announcing the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge

NYCx is launching the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge to tackle the following question: How might we make every small and midsize business in New York City and beyond as resilient to cybersecurity attacks as a Fortune 500 company? The nearly 240,000 small and midsized businesses that call New York City home continue to be the backbone of economic growth and opportunity across the five boroughs. Yet in a world of increasing cybersecurity risk, few are protected. Help us change that.

New York City is positioned to become a global leader in cybersecurity jobs and innovation due to three new initiatives. First, in October 2018, New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced the winners of its Cyber NYC initiative aimed at driving substantial cyber startup growth, training and skill-building for cyber careers, and deep commercialization partnerships between academic institutions and cyber companies. As part of Cyber NYC, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) was selected, through its Hub.NYC initiative in NYC, to serve as the center of cyber innovation and investment aimed at building world class cybersecurity companies. Shortly thereafter, New York City Cyber Command (C3) launched NYC Secure, a first-of-its-kind free consumer app to help New Yorkers secure their personal devices and WiFi networks. Now, the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer’s NYCx team is accelerating these efforts to find solutions that will protect the City’s small businesses when they conduct business online.

The nearly 240,000 small and midsize businesses that call New York City home are central to the economic growth and opportunity across the five boroughs. According to a 2017 Center for an Urban Future (CUF) report, small and midsize businesses dramatically outpaced far large companies in delivering job growth, adding nearly three times as many jobs annually as companies with more than 500 employees. In a world of heightened cyber threats, New York City must ensure that these businesses are as resilient to cyber-attacks as their larger counterparts. Several key trends are driving this urgency:

  • Internet-Connected Operations: Many small businesses host a website, conduct business over email, allow for online or credit card payments, or even offer free Wi-Fi access to customers in their office locations.
  • Bring Your Own (BYO) Trends: Small businesses allow employees and contractors to use their own personal devices or applications (BYO) at work, creating new points of vulnerability.
  • Education Gaps: A number of small businesses don’t have dedicated IT security staff, with 62% saying they would not know what to do in the event of a cyber attack or data breach.
  • Human Limitations: Despite years of aggressive efforts, nearly half of data breaches are still attributed to human error or negligence.
  • Increasing Threats: Roughly two-thirds of small businesses have experienced a cyber attack in the past year.
  • Enterprise Bias: The cybersecurity industry has targeted superior solutions and services to large enterprises who have deep pocketbooks and experienced staff.
  • Management Challenges: Many small businesses prefer to use the same login credentials across services because it minimizes complexity and saves on paying for additional user accounts.

Applicants submit a short response outlining their team, concept, and approach. Any company, nonprofit, individual, or global entity can apply. Please submit all responses by 11:59 PM ET on Friday, February 8, 2019 HERE.

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