NYC to unveil free app to protect residents from hackers

Updated 2018-03-30 13:12:01 Xinhua

New York City (NYC) will launch a smartphone application to help its residents stay safe while they are browsing the web, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

NYC Secure, to be launched this summer, will alert users to suspicious activities online and warn them about potential threats on their devices.

"New Yorkers aren't safe online. We can't wait around for other levels of government to do something about it or the private sector," de Blasio said.

He said that the program, which will cost the city about 5 million U.S. dollars a year, will operate under a "strict privacy policy" and will not collect or access any personally identifying information or transmit private data.

NYC made the announcement in the wake of hackers crippling government networks in U.S. state of Atlanta.

More than nine million New Yorkers were victims of data breaches in 2017, quadrupling the number in 2016, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday.

The majority of the data breaches involved Social Security numbers exposed. Those hacks accounted for 40 percent of the 9.2 million personal records accessed illegally in 2017.

The state's top cop plans to introduce legislation that would force Facebook and other social media sites to alert his office and New York online users when they discover that someone's personal information was stolen and abused.

The majority of breaches were due to hacking, but 25 percent of them were simply tied to sloppy tech practices.

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