Gov. Kathy Hochul has appointed Colin Ahern to serve as New York State’s first-ever chief cyber officer, to protect New York from increasingly prevalent and sophisticated cyber threats.
As a leading expert in cybersecurity, cyber resilience, and intelligence, Ahern will lead cross-agency efforts to defend New York State from increasing cyber threats. As part of his new role, Ahern will work to ensure the security, cyber resilience, and integrity of the State’s information assets and critical infrastructures.
“New York State is taking an aggressive, nation-leading approach to transforming our cybersecurity infrastructure to combat emerging threats and fortify our information assets,” Gov. Hochul said in a press statement. “In an era of increasingly advanced cyber threats, Colin’s proven expertise and experience in the military, the private sector, and the government will be critical to identifying cyber risks, enhancing our defense systems, preventing attacks, and ensuring that New Yorkers and our institutions remain protected.”
In addition, Ahern will lead the Joint Security Operations Center (JSOC) – a hub for cyber threat detection and incident response formed by Hochul in linking New York State and New York City cyber efforts.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve New Yorkers and work with Governor Hochul and her team to continue to build and enhance our statewide cybersecurity infrastructure. This administration is committed to leading the nation on cybersecurity, and I am so excited to join the front lines of that effort,” Ahern said.
Before his new role, Ahern served as the first deputy director of New York City Cyber Command and later as acting CISO, where he led the transformation of a small cyber unit into a vast agency with more than 100 departments and offices in its purview.
During the pandemic, Ahern led efforts to create New York City’s first-ever cloud-based, zero trust security environment – a massive undertaking enabling Cyber Command to pivot to remote work while still effectively defending against cyber threats.
Before beginning work in the city government, he worked in financial services as a security engineer and cyber threat researcher.