Cook County, Illinois Holds Symposium March 24 to Address Cyber Threats

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Cook County’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is partnering with the Center for Internet Security to bring leading experts together to address local government cyber issues

We have a responsibility to safeguard our cyber infrastructure -- Michael Masters, DHSEM Executive Director

In 2013, the cost of cyber crime was estimated at $38 billion in the United States and $113 billion globally.* Cook County’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) is bringing leading experts together to address the effects of cyber issues on local government. The DHSEM is partnering with the Center for Internet Security (CIS) for the Cook County Cyber Symposium: New Challenges, Innovative Solutions on March 24.

The one-day conference will give attendees – leaders from both the public and private sectors in Cook County – insight into the variety of cyber threats their organizations face in today’s world and also showcase the kinds of tools and techniques they can use to protect their data and their constituencies’ private information from cyber criminals. The morning keynote address, A Community Approach to Common Problems, will be given by Tony Sager, senior vice president and chief evangelist at (CIS). The closing keynote will be provided by Jane Holl Lute, CIS CEO and internationally recognized cyber security expert.

Sessions and panel discussions will cover the challenges that government faces, improving security through partnerships and how to effectively respond to a cybersecurity breach. For a full list of speakers and sessions, please see the attached agenda.

Michael Masters, executive director of DHSEM, highlighted the importance of the symposium. “Our municipalities, our companies and our residents are under constant threat from cyber criminals. Cyber crimes can have a devastating financial and physical impact on our community. We have a responsibility to safeguard our cyber infrastructure from criminals and need to work together to mitigate this threat.”

Masters noted that his department has taken the cyber threats very seriously. Under the leadership of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the DHSEM has overseen one of the largest investments in cybersecurity of any local government in the United States: developing a ground-up best practice cyber program that includes investment in training, as well as the development of key architecture and infrastructure to protect critical resources, assets and information.

Jane Holl Lute, CIS CEO said, "Cyber threats continue to escalate, posing significant risks to our economy, society and public safety. The Cook County Cyber Symposium is putting an important spotlight on enhancing readiness and response for local and municipal governments, and improving resiliency for critical infrastructure stakeholders. I applaud the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for taking a leadership role in addressing cyber security and serving as an example for other localities."

Details for the symposium are as follows:

DePaul University – O’Hare Campus
8770 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue - Room 206
Chicago, IL 60631

Tuesday, March 24
8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

For more information and to cover the event, please contact Natalia Derevyanny at natalia.derevyanny(at)cookcountyil(dot)gov or 312.603.8286.

The Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management integrates first responders, their departments and resources from 134 Cook County municipalities, and serves as the central agency in Cook County for coordinating efforts to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to and recover from all incidents, whether manmade or natural. For more information, visit our website at

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is an international nonprofit organization focused on enhancing the cyber security readiness and response of public and private sector entities. CIS produces consensus-based secure configuration benchmarks and content, and maintains and promotes adoption of the Critical Controls. CIS serves as the key cyber security resource for state, local, territorial and tribal governments, including chief information security officers, homeland security advisors and fusion centers. CIS is committed to elevating the competencies of the cyber security workforce, and to the development of policies, products and resources that help our partners achieve security goals. To learn more please visit or follow us at @CISecurity.

*Source: The Norton Report, by Symantec

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