New York City Offers Residents Free Smartphone Protection

The NYCSecure mobile device security app is free smartphone protection for residents.

Paid for by the city of New York, the free NYC Secure app detects mobile cybersecurity threats and issues device alerts, network alerts and on Android devices — app alerts. New York is the first city in the world to provide free smartphone protection for residents and visitors free of charge.

Our streets are already the safest of any big city in the country – now we’re bringing that same commitment to protecting New Yorkers into cyberspace,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio when the program was first announced in 2018. “New Yorkers manage so much of their lives online, from paying bills to applying for jobs to engaging with government. NYC Secure will ensure that we’re applying the best and most effective protection efforts to help New Yorkers defend themselves online.”

Unlike commercially-available device protection technology that checks for threats by collecting mobile data and analyzing it externally in the cloud, NYC Secure is engineered with a privacy-first approach, according the app website. Protection is provided without personal information and activity data ever leaving the device.

After warning app users about suspicious activities, NYC Secure recommends steps, like:

  • Disconnecting from a malicious Wi-Fi network
  • Navigating away from a compromised website
  • Uninstalling a malicious app

The initiative was created in response to the widespread use of mobile phones to connect to the Internet. The program adds an extra layer of security to personal devices that house sensitive data, according to Geoff Brown, citywide chief information security officer and head of NYC Cyber Command.

The agency, created in 2017, directs citywide cyber defense and incident response and provides cyber threat mitigation as well as guidance to city agencies. New cybersecurity technology also guards resident and visitors browsing the Internet across the city’s public wi-fi, including the LinkNYC network (1,400+ free wi-fi kiosks) from downloading ransomware and accessing phishing websites. Like the app, the technology does not use or store personal information.

New York City worked with Zimperium on the deployments.

Learn more about how it works by watching this video:

About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of EfficientGov.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.