Dallas launches cybersecurity app to help protect residents from digital threats

In a world where digital safety is under attack, the city of Dallas is providing a free service to protect residents from cybersecurity threats on their phones and other devices.

Dallas Secure, the city’s new mobile threat protection app, went live in early December and operates on software created by Dallas-based mobile security company Zimperium, which partnered with the city on the project more than a year ago. The company previously customized versions of the app for residents in New York City, Los Angeles and Michigan.

Dallas’ chief information officer, Bill Zielinski, said the city wanted to go on the offensive to combat the rise of cyber attacks on residents. After fraudsters scammed Dallas Water Utilities customers in September, the city responded by issuing news releases, pushing media alerts and warning people on the city website.

“We were basically chasing down what has already happened, and there have already been many people who have been impacted,” he said. “So we’ve been looking for things that we could do as the city to protect our residents by doing more proactive responses.”

How does it work?

Once downloaded, the app works in the background and gives users on-screen alerts of any potential threats on their device, including connecting to unsecured wireless networks and any phishing attempts.

“If it’s a phone call coming in, it gives you information about whether there’s a threat that might be possible,” Zielinski said. “Then, it provides an easy-to-use interface for actions that they can take to prevent that.”

For example, if a user connects to a malicious or unsecure Wi-Fi network, the app will notify users of the potential threat and ask whether or not they would like to disconnect.

Unlike some other cybersecurity tools, the app does not collect personal information and maintains users’ privacy, Zimperium CEO Shridhar Mittal said.

“The difference here is that it’s constantly monitoring everything that’s going on in your device and not sending any personal information out of your device at all,” Mittal said. “It is purely for the protection of the citizen.”

It also performs overall scans of users’ mobile devices and detects any…