Houston wraps up a three-day exercise this week at the Houston Emergency Center that is examining the challenges of responding to simultaneous incidents involving a natural disaster and cyber attack.
Mayor Sylvester Turner says the Jack Voltaic 2.0 Cyber Research Project will help city and state governments learn best practices if municipalities are being held hostage in a cyber attack.
“The exercise will allow us to examine the challenges those incidents place on critical infrastructure while assessing the response capability, agency collaboration, communication into operability and military integration,” Turner said.
He said the effort will help find gaps in cyber security capabilities and spot the impact of physical infrastructure degradation.
Police Chief Art Acevedo said can only imagine what would've happened if there had been a cyber attack during Hurricane Harvey.
“We are facing a daily threat, not just from organized criminals that are constantly trying to introduce ransom ware and hold municipalities hostage, including police departments and utilities,” said Acevedo.
Earlier this year, a cyber attack on Atlanta lasted five days. A cyber attack on Baltimore left the city paralyzed for 17 hours.
The current exercises in Houston are the first in the state for a combined cyber incident response exercise between city officials and the military.