Editorial: The world will come to Augusta

Editorial: The world will come to Augusta

The attention has gotten global.

Remember the old days when someone in your neighborhood would get a new car, and curious neighbors would stop by to get a look at it?

A high-tech version of that phenomenon has been unfolding at the Georgia Cyber Center on Reynolds Street downtown. We’re loath to use the hackneyed buzzword “synergy.” But the public-private cooperation among the center’s first tenants is generating a level of cooperation that other organizations around the country and the world are admiring. And they want to recreate their own versions of it when they return home.

That’s an accurate measure of the center’s early success.

Most recently, a delegation from Canada toured the facility last week to see how this new hive of cyber activity is coming up with answers to problems that both countries share.

“The problem is too large when we think about cybersecurity,” Michael Shaffer said. He’s Augusta University’s executive vice president of strategic partnerships and economic development. “We all need a workforce, and then we all have problems we have to share. And it is those problems we have to share that leads to this second part, and that is we’ve got to collaborate with others.”

Health-care cybersecurity was a particular area of interest. It’s emphasized around here particularly given Augusta’s heavy health-care presence. Cybersecurity is about protecting people’s information, and information about people’s health is among the most sensitive and exploitable.

Canada is slightly bigger than the United States in area, but its population – about 37 million – is a little less than the population of California. Those factors might matter in a conventional battle. Cyberspace, however, is an equalizer. Any malevolent expert with a laptop is a potential threat.

From Canada’s National Post newspaper: “Canada is an attractive target for malicious cyber operations and is often one of the first countries criminals and hostile nations target with new methods …”

That’s according to Christopher Porter, a cybersecurity expert and former CIA analyst offering testimony before the Canadian House of Commons’ public safety and national security committee.

A cyberattack isn’t just spying anymore – quietly gathering information. Fort Gordon’s heavy involvement with the rapidly growing U.S. Army Cyber Command clearly shows the gravity of cyber’s military threat.

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