NYC names winners of small-business cybersecurity challenge

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Three companies were on Tuesday selected as winners in a New York City competition designed to promote the development of affordable, cutting-edge cybersecurity tools for small businesses.

The competition, called the NYCx Cybersecurity Moonshot Challenge, was launched last October as a way to provide cybersecurity solutions to New York’s 240,000 small and midsize businesses that lack the financial, physical or educational resources to protect themselves against cybercrime.

The Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, New York City Economic Development Corporation and NYC Cyber Command selected the winners, all of which will be eligible for a spot in Hub.NYC, the public-private cybersecurity startup accelerator being built by the Israeli venture-capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners. At least one winner will also receive a $1 million investment from JVP, which sponsored the competition along with other venture-capital firms from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Berlin, Helsinki, London and Paris.

Of the three winners, INKY is a startup marketed to businesses as a specialized service to detect phishing threats. Paladin Cyber and SKOUT Cybersecurity, the other two winners, offer additional services like end-point protection, browser protection and cyber insurance.

In addition to the companies’ efforts to develop affordable cybersecurity solutions, MOCTO, NYCEDC and NYC Cyber Command will publish best practices and security standards for cyber resiliency over the next year, according to a press release from the mayor’s office. The three agencies will also put on cybersecurity training sessions for small businesses in partnership with the Department of NYC Small Business Services.

NYC’s Moonshot Challenge is the latest step in New York City’s Cyber NYC initiative, which is a $100 million initiative led by NYCEDC intended to make the city a desirable place for cybersecurity companies to settle. The city has sponsored challenges themed around other technologies, as well, including 5G wireless communications and electric vehicles.

New York City also released a kit in 2018 for other cities that want to start their own moonshot challenges. Other cities have taken steps to protect their small businesses from cybersecurity threats, such as Los Angeles, which in September stood up a nonprofit called Los Angeles Cyber Lab to notify participating small businesses if their systems have been compromised.

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cybersecurity, New York City, NYCx