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Mayor Adams Celebrates Graduation of First-Ever Cyber Academy Class

April 4, 2023

Graduates From 21 Agencies Will Serve as Cyber Defenders to Fight Threats in Their Offices

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Matthew Fraser, and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Kelly Moan today honored 21 city employees who graduated from the first-ever New York City Cyber Academy — a specialized training program designed to bolster the city’s cybersecurity workforce and enhance agency cyber capabilities to defend against threats to essential services and critical infrastructure. In accordance with Mayor Adams’ Executive Order 10 (EO10), issued last February, graduates will serve as liaisons to the Office of Cyber Command, representing their agency and serving as the primary contact with the New York City Office of Technology and Innovation’s (OTI) Cyber Command.

“Congratulations to all our incredibly impressive graduates who are blazing the way to a secure future for New York City,” said Mayor Adams. “Technology is at the heart of nearly everything we provide to New Yorkers, running our water, electricity, and notifying us during an emergency. It is crucial to the future of our city, and that is why we must protect it. Cyber threats can bring our entire city to a halt if we’re not prepared, costing us time, millions of dollars, and even livelihoods and lives. These threats are not going away, and today’s graduating class will be our guardians by building a pipeline of cyber expertise. Together, we will keep New York City technology safe.”

“New York City is continuing to lead the charge on creating a workforce ready to handle the changing times and emerging issues — and the inaugural Cyber Academy is no different,” said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. “I applaud the 21 graduates for serving our city, bolstering our cybersecurity infrastructure, and protecting all New Yorkers from any and all cyber-related threats.”

“New York City is the safest big city in the nation, despite facing constant cyber threats, because of its 24/7/365 vigilance, proactive defense measures, and strong local, state, and federal partnerships,” said CTO and OTI Commissioner Matthew Fraser.

“The New York City Cyber Academy program fortifies our city’s overall cyber resilience by augmenting our cybersecurity workforce and fostering closer working relationships between participating agencies and OTI’s Cyber Command. I thank Mayor Eric Adams for continuing to prioritize our city’s cybersecurity, and the highly skilled team at Cyber Command, led by CISO Kelly Moan, for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of New Yorkers. Congratulations to the inaugural class of Cyber Academy graduates!”   

“Cybersecurity is a great equalizer — gaining skills in the field can launch a career to new heights,” said New York City Chief Information Security Officer Kelly Moan. “Just as important, teaching these skills across city government will help keep New York City, its systems, and its people safe. Thank you to Mayor Adams and CTO Fraser for making cybersecurity and workforce development such a critical priority in this administration, and congratulations to our ever-impressive group of graduates.”  

“In our modern world, cyber security is no longer optional — it is absolutely necessary,” said New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “That’s what makes this citywide effort, spearheaded by the Office of Cyber Command, so critical to our public safety mission. Securing the flow of digital information requires advanced technical skillsets, and the specialized training offered by the Cyber Academy enhances every aspect of the work we do. The NYPD is proud to partner with the Mayor’s Office and numerous other agencies as we step forward into the next era of policing in New York City.”

“The number of cyberattacks on government agencies is fast growing and consistently challenges our way of safeguarding critical infrastructure and private information,” said Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “The FDNY is grateful to have a strategic partner in the city’s Office of Technology and Innovation. With programs like the New York City Cyber Academy, we are better positioned to meet cyber threats head on, so that our first responders can do what they do best — protect the lives and property of New Yorkers.”

“Protecting New York City’s health demands safe, secure, and effective data infrastructure to plan and evaluate our population health strategies, and to drive resources into the programs and into the communities that will make the biggest difference in protecting and improving the health of our city,” said New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “Congratulations to the graduates of the Cyber Academy, especially the agency’s own Fazle Chowdhury. The Health Department is grateful for the hard work to build skills that will make our agency and our city more secure from whatever threats come our way.” 

“We are so proud that Mikhail Katsev from the Mayor's Office of Housing Recovery Operations (HRO) is part of the city's inaugural Cyber Academy class,” said New York City Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. "The New Yorkers whose homes continue to be made safer by HRO's work can rest assured that Mikhail will also keep their digital information secure. Congratulations to Mikhail and all the Cyber Academy graduates!”

“As DSS continues to implement new technologies and transitions more services online, robust cybersecurity is essential to our efforts to provide critical benefits and services to New Yorkers and safeguard sensitive information,” said New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) Acting Commissioner Molly Wasow Park. “We are grateful that this administration is prioritizing cybersecurity at a time when cyberattacks are increasingly prevalent, and we are so proud of all of today’s graduates, including our own Iwan Axt who will serve as DSS’ Cyber Command liaison and further strengthen our connection with OTI.”

“Cybersecurity is top of mind across all New York City agencies. At city Planning, where we produce and support many of the city’s data systems, initiatives to protect infrastructure and sensitive data are at the center of our work,” said New York City Department of City Planning Director Dan Garodnick. “I want to thank the mayor, Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser, and Chief Information Security Officer Kelly Moan, along with City Planning’s ITD Division and Antonio Caceres for stepping up to take on this significant responsibility to work with the Office of Technology and Innovation’s Cyber Command. Thank you, Antonio!”

“Congratulations to the graduates of the city’s inaugural Cyber Academy, including our very own Cesar Cabrera, who has worked in the Division of Information Technology at ACS since 2019,” said New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner Jess Dannhauser. “This is a wonderful achievement for both the graduates and New York City as a whole, as it means that New York City’s information technology infrastructure is better protected than ever before.”  

“Our DYCD family couldn’t be prouder of Ramian Gyan, who started with us in 2018 and is being honored as one of the 21 graduates of the Cyber Academy’s inaugural class,” said New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) Commissioner Keith Howard. “Ramian is a shining example of how Mayor Adams and the administration are preparing our best and brightest to combat the ever-present threats against cybersecurity. Congratulations to Ramian and all the esteemed graduates who will make DYCD, our sister agencies, and New York City even more secure so that we can safely deliver services to New Yorkers.”

 “The Cyber Academy is an innovative resource for the city’s tech teams, who represent a special breed of highly skilled public servants committed to serving and protecting their community,” said New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Do. “We are proud to have our very own information security analyst graduating from this inaugural class, the first of many that will go on to keep city operations and services safe from cyberthreats.”

“Preventing cyberattacks and safeguarding sensitive customer information is crucial to DOF’s mission of safely and efficiently collecting the revenues that make every city service possible,” said Department of Finance Commissioner Preston Niblack. “We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in NYC OTI’s inaugural Cyber Academy, and we thank all of today’s graduates, including DOF’s own Information Security Specialist Ron Richardson, for their tireless work to protect the city's critical infrastructure as well as the private information of New Yorkers." 

“As a city agency that works with sensitive information concerning discrimination, cyber security is essential to the effectiveness of CCHR’s services,” said New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) Commissioner and Chair Annabel Palma. “CCHR congratulates all the graduates of the city’s inaugural Cyber Academy and is grateful to their crucial contributions to the city’s cyber security.”

“Congratulations to all the graduates of the inaugural Cyber Academy,” said New York City Business Integrity Commission (BIC) Commissioner and Chair Elizabeth Crotty. “This is not only a benefit to the Business Integrity Commission, but to all of the participating agencies on the front lines of how we are working to improve and digitize our processes to ensure efficiency and information security along with improving public safety. Cyber security is a top priority for the city, especially for regulatory agencies like BIC. I would like to thank OTI for their leadership in this area and for inviting BIC to be a part of this inaugural Cyber Academy class.”

“As the city’s independent administrative law court, OATH handles sensitive information across a variety of systems,” said Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) Commissioner and Chief Administrative Law Judge Asim Rehman. “Congratulations to our Cyber Academy graduate Quiana Battle, who, along with our stellar IT team, will help ensure that data held by OATH remains secure so that we can focus on administering fair and impartial justice for New Yorkers.”

“New York City has embraced the digital age, being home to the nation’s largest tech workforce,” said New York City Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) Director Lisa Flores. “Investing in the professional development of our public servants is necessary to protect our city’s interests and the interests of every New Yorker. It is the city’s responsibility to seek out ways to better safeguard sensitive information from those seeking to cause harm by illegally obtaining data and personal information. One way we can do this is to provide continued education opportunities on a consistent basis to our professionals. I applaud the New York City Office of Technology and Innovation for launching our city’s inaugural Cyber Academy class. Congratulations to MOCS’ very own Joseph Clarke, Cybersecurity IT engineer manager, and the rest of the academy’s graduating class.”

“Cyber security is an increasingly important tool to protect the essential services DOT provides to New Yorkers. I’d like to congratulate Aditi Halder for becoming DOT’s first-ever cyber security liaison. Aditi has worked for the DOT for nearly 10 years and has risen through our IT department since joining the agency as an application developer,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “With thanks to Mayor Eric Adams, we look forward to her work facilitating even greater collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation.”

“The New York Public Library was grateful for the opportunity to participate in OTI’s inaugural Cyber Academy and work together with other city agency representatives in a wide-ranging cyber-response training program, which reflected the issues and situations that impact our organizations,” said Garfield Swaby, vice president of information technology, New York Public Library. “The ability to network and share experiences with peers across the city was extremely valuable. We thank OTI for extending an invitation to the library and congratulate Harry Halikias for his successful graduation from the program.”

Part of OTI, the city’s Office of Cyber Command tracks more than 90 billion suspicious cyber events each week — an incident visibility much closer to the U.S. Department of Defense than other U.S. cities and states. Using cutting-edge technology, Cyber Command is able to whittle down those 90 billion events to 50 investigations by its highly trained team of cyber defenders.

In February 2022, Mayor Adams signed EO 10, which required each city agency to designate a cyber command liaison to work with the Office of Cyber Command to share information, monitor threats, and adopt best practices around cybersecurity. The inaugural New York City Cyber Academy program provided participants with a specialized instructor-led, web-based, and experiential training that focused on incident response, network security, and cyber threat intelligence. Future cohorts are planned for this spring and fall and will include city employees from agencies that did not participate in this first class. The goal is to have a graduate in each city agency and office by the end of 2024.
The inaugural Cyber Academy’s graduates are (in alphabetical order):

  • Iwan Axt, New York City Department of Social Services
  • Quiana Battle, New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings
  • Cesar Cabrera, New York City Administration for Children’s Services
  • Antonio Caceres, New York City Department of City Planning
  • Patrick Cheung, New York City Police Department
  • Fazle Chowdhury, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Joseph Clarke, Mayor’s Office of Contract Services
  • Dennis Green, Police Pension Fund
  • Ramian Gyan, New York City Department of Youth & Community Development
  • Aditi Halder, New York City Department of Transportation
  • Harry Halikias, New York Public Library
  • Chengying He, Fire Department of New York
  • Mikhail Katsev, Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations
  • Noah Klingaman, Business Integrity Commission
  • Jordan Mamet, New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission
  • Olin McFadden, Special Narcotics Prosecutor
  • Ron Richardson, New York City Department of Finance
  • Deshard Stevens, New York City Commission on Human Rights
  • Jason Suazo, New York City Office of Technology and Innovation
  • Victor Tavares, New York City Comptroller’s Office
  • Derick Yu, New York City Conflicts of Interest Board

In addition to its work with city agencies, the Office of Cyber Command works closely with state and federal partners, as well as the private sector, to ensure maximum defense, deterrence, and resilience. On the same day Mayor Adams signed EO 10, he was joined by New York Governor Kathy Hochul to launch the Joint Security Operations Center in Brooklyn, a first-of-its-kind hub for coordinating cybersecurity efforts across New York state, helping foster collaboration among city, state, and federal entities.

“With the increasing complexity, scale, and impacts of cyberattacks focused on state and local governments, it’s critical for these organizations to build advanced cyber defense capabilities and resilience,” said Ron Bushar, head of government solutions, Mandiant Consulting at Google Cloud. “Working together with New York City to expand incident response capabilities and capacity through shared expertise and mentorship demonstrates the city’s and Mandiant’s commitment to a future-ready New York City.”


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