Gridsmart creates cybersecurity division to protect transportation infrastructure


Developers of the iconic bell-shaped fish-eye lens camera and Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), Gridsmart Technologies Inc., has announced the formation of the company’s new Information Security and Threat Intelligence Division (ISTI), a first-of-its-kind transportation industry cybersecurity group.

ITSI’s goal will be to help transportation industry technology and infrastructure partners build proactive security programs for their organizations, including resilient recovery strategies. One of several professional services ISTI provides includes vulnerability and threat assessments and tailored security strategies to private companies, state and municipal Departments of Transportation (DOT), and others working to proactively defend and enhance the resiliency of their technical infrastructure from cyberattack.

ISTI will be led by Antonio Rucci (right), one of the USA’s most-respected cybersecurity experts, who worked for two decades as a counterintelligence special agent, ultimately serving for six years at the White House, before moving into the private sector. Under Rucci’s leadership, ISTI will work with organizations to uncover penetration points, secure systems and design customized hack-resistant solutions to assure transportation network integrity.

Gridsmart says that as transportation and Smart City initiatives accelerate and the world becomes ever more connected, the implications of a cyberattack are increasingly disturbing. In Washington DC prior to last year’s presidential inauguration, suspected Romanian hackers infected and disabled 70% of the city’s CCTV cameras.

Meanwhile, security services believe international terrorist organizations are monitoring autonomous vehicle developments and are considering using driverless vehicles in attacks. The company also cites the financial implications of cyberattacks. In November 2016, a hacker infected the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s payment systems and schedule monitors with ransomware, preventing the city from collecting US$50,000 in fares before the US Department of Homeland Security and industry experts stepped in to help remediate the attack.

“Our new ISTI division is born of necessity. There is a clear and present danger of cyberattacks and cyber-espionage on our infrastructure daily. Mobility is a strategic area for the enemy to attack,” explained Bill Malkes, Gridsmart’s co-founder and CEO. “We are not talking about an obscure, distant threat. This is already happening and whether the attackers are individuals working in their basement or sophisticated international regimes, they can do incredible damage in an instant.

“In this battle, ISTI will be the Special Operator. True to our core values, we will be in front of this danger, providing those we serve with practical, simple and implementable solutions. I am honored Tony Rucci is bringing his team to our cause in leading Gridsmart’s Information Security and Threat Intelligence Division.”

Rucci commented, “Hackers are working tirelessly to discover weaknesses in our national infrastructure. In the cyber-criminal’s mind, traffic management networks, connected and driverless vehicles, and the spectrum of transportation technologies offer the potential for maximum impact and profound harm. At ISTI, we’re committed to becoming a resource for our clients, helping them build incident response programs and teams; training them to build, exercise and execute resilient disaster recovery strategies. Data breaches will happen. How you respond defines your company.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).