Motorola Solutions recently announced a new cyber threat information and intelligence sharing initiative called the Public Safety Threat Alliance (PSTA), designed to provide public safety agencies with the knowledge they need to better defend against risks like ransomware and data breaches. We spoke with Jay Kaine, Director of the PSTA, to learn more about what this initiative entails and how public safety organizations will benefit.
What Is an Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO)?
An ISAO is a trusted community that actively collaborates to identify and share details about cybersecurity threats. The 2015 Executive Order signed by then-President Obama, which established the concept of ISAOs, recognized the critical role that public-private security partnerships play in our collective cybersecurity posture. This remains true today across all sectors, including public safety.
As Brad Stoddard, a member of the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) and director of the Michigan Public Safety Communications Systems (MPSCS), noted in a Wall Street Journal article about the PSTA, public safety has been able to get cyber threat information from other sources, but not all of it was relevant to them. Sometimes the people who got that information didn’t recognize its significance, either.
Why Is Motorola Solutions Establishing the PSTA?
As the headlines illustrate every day, no one is immune from cyber attacks. Threat actors are going after anyone and everyone, including public safety and other organizations that were once “off limits.” Across the board, public safety agencies are experiencing an increase in the volume and the types of cyber attacks they have to defend against. Ransomware attacks, including targeted ransomware attacks, are increasingly common, followed by data exfiltration attempts.
We’re uniquely positioned to establish the PSTA as an ISAO for public safety because of our longstanding leadership in mission-critical communications and our deep understanding of the sensitive nature of public safety customer data. Our global reach, combined with more than 90 years of experience supporting public safety customers and the communities they serve, allows us to rapidly establish a network of trusted partners and share information and intelligence on the most pressing cyber threats to public safety.
What Are the Objectives of the PSTA?
The PSTA is designed to operate as a single organization focused on the collection, analysis, production and sharing of actionable cyber threat information. There’s a critical void for public safety-specific threat intelligence, and our goal is to fill that gap. Our objectives include:
- Centralizing information from members, trusted partners and Motorola Solutions Cybersecurity Services;
- Delivering end-to-end threat intelligence and proactive defense solutions; and
- Reducing the cybersecurity burden on public safety organizations so they can focus on their mission of protecting life, health and property for their constituents.
We’re committed to this investment. That includes not only the tools, intelligence sources and platforms required for us to produce actionable intelligence but the people as well. We’re staffing the PTSA with experts in threat intelligence, product management, IT and member engagement.
What Are the Benefits of Cyber Threat Information Sharing?
Members aren’t required to share threat information with us, but the more they do, the better positioned the PSTA will be to help improve the overall cybersecurity posture of the entire community. Information provided by public safety agencies on threats and attacks will be processed by Motorola Solutions and anonymized to create actionable intelligence for other member agencies.
Members will be able to take advantage of a wide range of cybersecurity information and resources, including a Threat Intelligence Exchange for secure communications, flash reports for breaking news and zero-day threats, newsletters and webinars. There’s no cost for public safety entities to join the PSTA, regardless of if they’re Motorola Solutions customers or not.
Public safety is facing increasing cybersecurity threats because of rapid adoption of new technologies, interconnected networks and more targeted and frequent attacks. In response, Motorola Solutions has taken a leadership role in forming the PSTA as an ISAO that’s open to customers and non-customers.
Our vision is to create a world-class hub that fills the void that public safety agencies experience to better arm them against the threats we see every day. By collecting and sharing input about ransomware attacks, indicators of compromise and other activity, we can provide actionable intelligence that will better inform our customers and the public safety sector at large on how to defend against them.
Interested in joining the PSTA? Email us for more information.