Unique Cybersecurity Challenges Faced by ECCs

Sunday, August 6, 2023 | 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Catherine Watson, MS –
FirstNet Program at AT&T


Catherine Watson, from Firstnet Program at AT&T, led a talk discussing the cybersecurity risks emergency communications centers (ECCs) face. This informative presentation covered threats both inside and outside of the center with emphasis applied on the risks of the human factor in the ECC. Watson stated, “Hackers exploit human tendencies, that is the biggest factor in cybersecurity” highlighting how hackers will utilize fear, greed, urgency and curiosity to deceive and foil  ECC personnel.  Watson continued, “You can put all the protections on your network, but if they can get to you, they will find a way”. 


Watson encouraged all attendees to “be their own private investigator” in reviewing unsolicited emails and unexpected messages from known individuals and always think “This can happen to me” She further encouraged each ECC to ensure that adequate resources are applied to cybersecurity initiatives as resource constraints make building robust security extremely difficult. 


This session provided a compelling look at current trends in cyber security threats and requirements ECCs need to consider in mitigating their exposure to cyber security threats.


Submitted by Michael P. Banks, CPE