L.A. County Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Jeffery Aguilar said his office is preparing for upcoming high-profile activities – like the World Cup in 2026 and the Olympics in 2028 – by maturing its cybersecurity and building prevention techniques rather than taking the usual detection-based approach.
“As we look at big event security, the question always comes into play, ‘What if?’,” said Aguilar at a FedInsider event on Oct. 25. “All of us as security professionals know it’s not if, it’s when something’s going to happen.”
The CISO explained that L.A. County is utilizing the lessons learned from the 2022 Superbowl playbook – when the city hosted the playoff and cybersecurity threats ramped up among citizens and government officials.
One key to success, Aguilar said, is leveraging partnerships with Federal entities. The city is currently working with the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security.
“What we’re really doing is leveraging our Federal partners. I think that’s really one of the keys to success,” he said. “Big events for them isn’t anything new – they do this all the time on a global scale. So really enhancing and strengthening that partnership has been key.”
But the county isn’t stopping there. It is also strengthening partnerships with 88 local CISOs, Aguilar continued, and collaborating with the private sector to finalize its incident response plan.
“To build the relationships and build trust, it takes a lot of time. A lot of this is organizational change,” he said. “A big key to success for all of us is collaboration.”
Finally, Aguilar said the city is ramping up its user awareness training for the next four to six years – including phishing information campaigns. Being prepared for these major, global events will require an all-hands-on-deck approach.
“Information security really is a team sport,” he said. It’s crucial that L.A. is “more transparent with our partners and build those relationships to build a better defense.”