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City Of LA, Metro Team Up To Launch Cyber Security Mobile Phone App

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Tuesday it has teamed up with the city of Los Angeles to launch a free mobile security app -- to protect people in L.A. County from cybersecurity threats on public WiFi systems.

"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 Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis.

"As L.A. 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."

Officials say the "LA Secure" app will provide immediate protection against new and evolving threats on both iPhone and Android mobile devices. Once the app is downloaded, it alerts the user to threats in real-time and offers information about how to proceed. If someone attempts to connect to a rogue WiFi network, the app will immediately notify the user about the security risk. The app also provides protection against "phishing" -- emails designed to fraudulently gather personal information.

"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," Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "Through LA Secure, we're making good on that commitment and empowering people with the resources they need to stay safe online."

Metro said the app is part of a series of customer experience improvements, and all of its more than 2,300 transit buses already have free WiFi access. Cyber attackers increasingly target mobile devices because they do not have the same protections as desktops and laptop computers, Metro warned. Meanwhile, nearly half of all web traffic in the U.S. is done on mobile devices and smartphones, according to Metro.

"We are excited to offer the gift of online security to our customers this holiday season. 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," Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins said. "We believe everyone deserves to have a secure online experience on our system and look forward to promoting privacy protections available through this important program."

The "LA Secure" app was developed by Zimperium. People can download it for free on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

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