10 January 2022
by Sarah Wray
The City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) have launched a new app to protect residents and visitors from growing cybersecurity threats on public Wi-Fi systems.
“The City and County of Los Angeles have a responsibility to protect residents in both the physical and the digital realms – and it’s a responsibility we take very seriously,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Through LA Secure, we’re making good on that commitment and empowering people with the resources they need to stay safe online.”
The LA Secure app for Apple iOS and Android, developed by mobile security company Zimperium, provides people with immediate protection against new and evolving threats, Metro said. This includes alerting device users to risks in real-time and offering information on what to do about them. For example, if someone tries to connect to a rogue Wi-Fi network, LA Secure will warn them immediately. Phishing protection also guards against malicious links and enables people to check the safety and legitimacy of links before clicking on them.
“Providing a safe and secure environment for Los Angeles County’s 10 million residents to live and work is becoming just as important online as it has always been offline,” said Hilda L. Solis, Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor to the First District.
“As LA County continues to expand public Wi-Fi access, including on its entire fleet of Metro buses, LA Secure offers an industry-leading technology to ensure all the activity they conduct on their mobile devices remains safe, private and secure.”
Mobile device risks
Mobile devices are increasingly a target for cyber criminals as many do not yet have the protection available on most desktop or laptop computers, and users don’t always install operating system updates and patches. The ease of “sideloading” applications, or installing apps that have not been through the security checks required of those available in official app stores, is another unique vulnerability that heightens risk on mobile devices.
“We see LA Secure as another opportunity to provide greater access and equity for our transit customers, many of whom are low-income, do not have their own access to Internet services and depend greatly on public Wi-Fi services,” said Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins.