January 11, 2010 12:26 ET

ChicagoFIRST Addresses Cyber Security Threats

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - January 11, 2010) - ChicagoFIRST is addressing cyber security issues locally and nationally with recently completed exercises exploring these threats, as well as the private sector's potential response to an attack.

As private sector business continuity and security programs continue to expand their focus on preparedness for and response to a cyber attack, ChicagoFIRST -- a non-profit coalition of critical private sector Chicago firms -- is working with local and federal government officials to link the public and private sectors' activities.

During the fourth quarter of 2009, ChicagoFIRST partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division to develop and sponsor two day-long cyber security workshops and tabletop exercises. The first event, which took place in October, was developed for and hosted by BARCfirst, the Bay Area Response Coalition, in San Francisco. The second, which took place in December, was completed in coordination with NCRfirst, the National Capitol Region coalition, in Washington, D.C. In addition to the critical private sector members of these coalitions, both of these events included participation from regional U.S. Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials.

ChicagoFIRST has been instrumental in helping the formation of similar coalitions throughout the country, including BARCfirst and NCRfirst, mentioned above. In 2005, the Regional Partnership Council (RPCfirst) ( was created so that these developing and developed entities could share best practices and learn from one another. There are over a dozen similar coalitions across the United States.

At the local level, ChicagoFIRST conducted its sixth annual tabletop exercise on December 10, 2009. More than 65 representatives of ChicagoFIRST and its Strategic Partners attended the exercise, which focused on both physical security and cyber security attacks, and emphasized the need for physical security managers and cyber security managers to collaborate before, during, and after an attack.

"In the current economic climate, some companies could be tempted to cut corners in the areas of security and business continuity, but the high level of participation in both the recent local and national cyber security exercises demonstrates the strong commitment ChicagoFIRST members and RPCfirst members and all levels of government have in actively addressing these issues," said Brian Tishuk, Executive Director of ChicagoFIRST.

About ChicagoFIRST

ChicagoFIRST was formed in July 2003 by Chicago-area financial organizations and seeks to enhance the resilience of the Chicago financial community and critical infrastructure overall. It does this by establishing relationships between its members and all levels of government, and by providing a means by which the critical private firms can coordinate with respect to homeland security and emergency management issues. Additional information can be found at

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