SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – October is both National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and Massachusetts Cybersecurity Month.

Cybersecurity officials met with Congressman Richard Neal this afternoon to discuss an uptick in cyber crimes. This year’s theme is “Collaborating for a Secure Future.”

The Massachusetts IT Bond Bill included one million dollars for the Springfield Redevelopment Authority to establish a collaborative cybersecurity initiative at Union Station. The money from the bill will go toward establishing a Cyber Plus New England center.

The Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council says cyber security jobs will be a game changer for western Massachusetts.

Rick Sullivan, executive director of Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council told 22News, “It is certainly going to certainly going to serve as a development for workforce here of local talent creating a pipeline to make western Massachusetts and Springfield a leader in cyber, Cyber plus, and cyber talent.”

Neal discussed the uptick in cyber crimes during the pandemic saying ransomware has threatened businesses and governments with extortion.