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Growing cybersecurity industry in San Antonio protects valuable South Texas assets

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An industry that often flies below the radar is gaining ground in San Antonio. The cybersecurity world is growing quietly in South Texas and having a significant impact on local industries.

“San Antonio has more cybersecurity professionals than any other place other than the National Capital Region,” according to U.S. Congressman Will Hurd of District 23.

That’s huge when you think about all of the cyber security headquartered in Washington, D.C., like the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, San Antonio is second to it. And, the industry only seems to be growing in The Alamo City. Hurd, who worked in intelligence at the CIA, says they are the solid types of jobs cities love to attract, “It’s going to mean more good paying jobs here in San Antonio. These kinds of jobs average income is about $83,000 dollars. That’s twice the average in Texas, so these are really good jobs.”The secretive, robust world of cybersecurity in San Antonio is made up of groups like the 24th and 25th Air Force, The National Security Agency, DHS, and the FBI. But, it’s not only creating more jobs in San Antonio, it’s helping protect already existing industries in South Texas from cyber threats according to San Antonio’s Special Agent in Charge at the FBI, Chris Combs.

“What we’ve found, it’s literally every size company. It’s not just USAA and the HEBs, which we work very closely with, but any company that has any type of competitive advantage. They are a target for hackers,” says Combs.

One big focus for the FBI in South Texas is protecting the intellectual property of oil field companies.

“The FBI has seen a very dramatic increase in hackers and foreign state sponsored hackers targeting the oil industry here in San Antonio, South Texas, Houston, El Paso,” explains Combs.

Much of it’s directed at proprietary information, like fracking.

Combs explains, “If they can get that competitive advantage against us, one it’s cheaper for them to produce the oil and sell it on the open market. But two, to use that technology in their own country, that could upset the oil industry as a whole maybe even globally.”

Combs stresses the value of Texas businesses using the immense resources at their fingertips, “It’s a corporate advantage to be here in San Antonio because you can tap into some of the expertise that’s here. […]And, maybe this is why they’re moving here too because it’s attractive.”

Combs says he sometimes finds that businesses can be fearful of reporting irregular activity on their sites or otherwise afraid it could affect stock prices or cause embarrassment. But, he is quick to emphasize, the FBI works very closely with many businesses to ensure their safety in South Texas and hopes all businesses small and large will contact them when necessary. If you need to do so the number to report is 210-225-6741, or you can go online at https://tips.fbi.gov.

TAGS: Oil, Cybersecurity, Houston

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