Gov. Lauds New Visa Cyber Fusion Center in Ashburn

A hard-hitting trio stopped in Ashburn this morning to celebrate the unveiling of Visa’s new Cyber Fusion Center.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), Attorney General and Loudoun-native Mark Herring (D) and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) congratulated and repeatedly thanked the company for choosing the commonwealth to launch its new, high-tech center.

“We beat out Colorado and Texas to get them here,” McAuliffe said.

The secure facility will serve as the company’s hub for rapid cyber threat detection.

Visa executive Bill Sheedy told the elected officials and press gathered in the new space that, from where they were standing, some of the top cybersecurity “warriors” were identifying and responding to emerging fraud trends.

Dignitaries, including Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D), Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), cut the ribbon to formally open the new Visa Cyber Fusion Center. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)
Dignitaries, including Loudoun County Supervisor Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run), Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen R. Jackson, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D), Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), cut the ribbon to formally open the new Visa Cyber Fusion Center in Ashburn. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)

“We’re invested in ensuring consumers and merchants in Virginia and in the United States and around the world are empowered and safe and secure when they use their Visa card,” said Sheedy, the company’s global executive of Corporate Strategy, M&A and Government Relations. “Obviously, putting our capital behind it with buildings and facilities like this are incredibly important in the manifestation of that commitment.”

McAuliffe called the commonwealth a world leader in the cybersecurity industry, thanks to partnerships with companies like Visa and the dozens of other tech enterprises that have planted roots in Northern Virginia. Loudoun County boasts the highest concentration of data centers in the world, and about half of all Internet traffic travels through those centers.

Plus, McAuliffe noted, Virginia was the first state to use credit cards with computer chip technology. “We’re leading by example,” he said. “We’ve been working really hard to put Virginia in the forefront of this industry.”

Warner listed some daunting statistics to illustrate the dire need for facilities like Visa’s Cyber Fusion Center. He said the U.S. Department of Defense receives more than one million cyber attacks each day. “And on the criminal side, cyber attacks have had a $120-billion-a-year hit just to the American economy,” he added.

The Visa Cyber Fusion Center in Ashburn. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)
The Visa Cyber Fusion Center in Ashburn. (Danielle Nadler/Loudoun Now)

The investment in that industry is not only a need, but it also presents an opportunity for Virginia to diversify its economy, especially as the federal government considers cutting back on contract work, the senator said. “This is a great opportunity to build one of the pillars of the 21st century economy.”

During his comments, Herring agreed that the threat is very real and can be intimidating—since he was sworn in as attorney general two years ago, his office has received 621 data breach notifications. But he said the commonwealth has all the right ingredients to draw high-tech companies to respond to that threat.

“Our outstanding public schools, highly skilled work force, reliable and reasonably priced energy make Virginia a great state for companies like Visa to locate in and Loudoun County in particular,” he said.


2 thoughts on “Gov. Lauds New Visa Cyber Fusion Center in Ashburn

  • 2016-01-14 at 6:31 pm

    AG Herring’s remarks are very interesting. It is true that many companies with financial information have been breached. When such information is stolen, the thieves attempt to exploit the theft by using the credit cards to make purchases. As most of us who have received fraud alerts know, the credit card companies can detect fraudulent patterns. But how do they do this? How do they know when somebody is misusing your card and when you might just be traveling?

    Distinguishing what patterns are fundamentally different from what might just be random noise is the critical part of the process. The same is true in measures of the effectiveness of education systems. A ton of research has been conducted into value-added research (VAMs). VDOE even cites this research in its evaluation guides. And of course Herring and McAuliffe cite Virginia’s/Loudoun’s “excellent” education systems in their cyber event today. But how do we know if the high test scores result from just smart kids vs effective education?

    VDOE’s personnel built the VAM/SGP system for Virginia. Sen Kaine’s wife – Anne Holton – signed off on federal funding applications “assuring” Virginia was using them despite knowing full well that was a lie. Herring has even tasked his AG’s office to defend the VDOE personnel who knowingly defrauded the feds. And yet Herring/McAuliffe/Kaine all claim that they have the same interests as companies like Visa who build complex tools to identify patterns? Are you kidding me? When these Virginia politicians are given money to implement similar data analytics, they not only ignore the analytics which could help improve our educational system, they lie about it to the public and the federal gov’t.

    The biggest expense of Virginia and localities (besides Medicaid) is education. And they guys are doing everything they can to ignore the very analytics designed to help us improve education. It’s a complete embarrassment all the way around.

  • 2016-01-14 at 4:59 pm

    Coffee is for closers. McAuliffe earned his cup. This is what he does well—schmoozing for business. He should stick to BizDev and stop with the Democrats War on Reality. He would fare much better.

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