New York governor names state's first Chief Cyber Officer

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) on Monday tapped digital security veteran Colin Ahern to be the state’s first-ever Chief Cyber Officer.

Ahern will oversee all cyber threat assessment, mitigation and response efforts and helm the Joint Security Operations Center — an information sharing hub that connects the state, local and regional governments, as well as critical infrastructure operators and federal agencies.

“New York State is taking an aggressive, nation-leading approach to transforming our cybersecurity infrastructure to combat emerging threats and fortify our information assets,” Hochul said in a statement

“In an era of increasingly advanced cyber threats, Colin’s proven expertise and experience in the military, the private sector, and government will be critical to identifying cyber risks, enhancing our defense systems, preventing attacks, and ensuring that New Yorkers and our institutions remain protected,” she added.

Ahern previously served as first deputy director of New York City Cyber Command. He went on to become the organization's acting chief information security officer. He created the city’s first ever cloud-based, zero trust security environment during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the governor’s office. Prior to joining city government, he worked in financial services as a security engineer and cyber threat researcher.

Ahern served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves and served two tours in Afghanistan. The last post of his military career was as a company commander at the Army Cyber Brigade.

He currently works as an adjunct associate professor at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and a guest lecturer at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve New Yorkers and work with Governor Hochul and her team to continue to build and enhance our statewide cybersecurity infrastructure as the first Chief Cyber Officer,” Ahern wrote in a LinkedIn post

“This administration is committed to leading the nation on cybersecurity, and I am excited to join this effort.”

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Martin Matishak

Martin Matishak

is the senior cybersecurity reporter for The Record. Prior to joining Recorded Future News in 2021, he spent more than five years at Politico, where he covered digital and national security developments across Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. He previously was a reporter at The Hill, National Journal Group and Inside Washington Publishers.