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Rep. Israel touts LI as cybersecurity hub

Rep. Steve Israel is the driving force behind

Rep. Steve Israel is the driving force behind the new LI Cyberdefense Consortium. (Sept. 5, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

More than 20 heads of business groups, utilities, companies and colleges met privately Monday to explore ways of securing for Long Island some of the federal dollars being spent on Internet security.

The event, sponsored by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), was an organizational meeting for the Long Island Cyberdefense Consortium held at a mansion on the New York Institute of Technology's Old Westbury campus.

Israel, citing hacking incidents against corporate and government websites, said Nassau and Suffolk counties could serve as a national provider of cyberdefense systems, particularly for the electric grid. He recalled the leading role the Island played in building planes during World War II and the Cold War.

"Everybody on Long Island is doing something about cyberdefense, but hardly anyone knows what the others are doing," Israel said in an interview. "I just want to get everyone together to cooperate rather than compete."

The consortium plans a survey of local research, computer software and products. The poll will be conducted by The Morrelly Homeland Security Center, Long Island Association, Long Island Forum for Technology and Long Island Software & Technology Network.

After the survey is complete, Israel plans to organize presentations to federal agencies in Washington about what Nassau and Suffolk have to offer.

Doon Gibbs, interim director of Brookhaven National Laboratory, said, "Long Island has the institutional, business and technological resources -- along with the human intellectual capital -- needed to build a strong center of excellence in cybersecurity here."

LIA president Kevin Law agreed, adding the initiative could lead to more jobs. "There are cybersecurity threats out there," he said, "and the question is how to turn them into economic development opportunities."

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