NOVA Localities Protected by Albert Cybersecurity Capability

Posted Jul 22, 2021
Cyber Stock

NVERS, in coordination with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and the Northern Virginia Cybersecurity Working Group, has secured servers and Albert Network Monitoring service plans for eleven (11) Northern Virginia jurisdictions through Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) funding.

The Albert Network Monitoring service is a capability provided by the Center for Internet Security (CIS). Albert monitors network traffic for potential threats which, once identified, are then sent to CIS’ 24/7 Security Operations Center (SOC) for analysis and the host locality is informed of the potential threat as well as if any action is advised. Albert acts as a staff multiplier as the 24/7 SOC allows jurisdictions to have, in essence, around the clock cybersecurity staffing. Jurisdictions must become members of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) to participate in Albert, but the organization is free to join for United States’ state, local, tribal, and territorial governments.

The first Albert Network Monitoring sensors were activated in Northern Virginia in October 2020, allowing multiple jurisdictions to have the capability in place ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election. The network monitoring not only helped ensure cybersecurity during the election, but also protected, and continues to protect, the day-to-day business conducted on local government networks. As of July 2021, all twenty (20) servers procured for the original eleven (11) jurisdictions are actively monitoring networks for potential threats.

In addition to the original eleven (11) jurisdictions identified as recipients of servers and service plans, additional localities have been invited to participate in the project. Their inclusion will further bolster Northern Virginia cybersecurity in the future.

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