Indianapolis plans citywide cyber-defense shield

INDIANAPOLIS - Public safety officials are constantly working to protect the city’s critical infrastructure, and now that effort will be made to include the city’s business community.

Last year, the 911 center received nearly 1.4 million calls for help. The facility is backed up by at least four off-site redundant systems and call centers in all seven surrounding counties.

"It's a critical infrastructure to the citizens of this county and to the sheriff’s office. And we do everything in our power and ability to keep the system as it was designed to whether it's a cyber-attack or not," said Mike Hubbs with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

For the first time, public safety officials showed off their $73 million communications platform that protects all emergency phone calls, radio and computer traffic from cyber-attacks.

At an undisclosed location, the system is a stand-alone network hardened against cyber-attacks. But officials admit, that hasn't kept cyber hackers from trying to disrupt the system.

"We have had some attacks on our open networks. And we've dealt with those with the Department of Homeland Security. They've investigated in the background. In the meantime, we've taken measures to reduce the types of attacks and also put protocols in place as to how we respond," said Chief of Public Safety Communications Tim Baughman,.

Beyond public safety, Indianapolis has embarked on a wide-scale plan to join with the private sector to help defend and recover from terrorist cyber-attacks that originate at home or from abroad.

"Someone in this country, in a major city, and let's be clear, Indianapolis is a major city, someone in my position and the mayor's position is going to have to deal with a traditional terrorist attack and a simultaneous cyber-attack," said Director of Public Safety Troy Riggs.

Indianapolis works closely with the FBI to monitor cyber-hackers who pose threats to critical computer-driven infrastructure.

The FBI has identified cyber-security as one of its highest priorities.

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

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