The US president promises a reckoning for SolarWinds hackers and places cybersecurity at the top of the administration’s agenda.
The Biden administration has hit the ground running on cybersecurity, reportedly getting ready to nominate what some have called a “world-class” cybersecurity team of officials and prioritizing efforts to tackle the worst hack in US history, the SolarWinds breach. The renewed effort to tackle cybersecurity matters couldn’t come soon enough. The Trump administration all but gutted the White House and other government offices of cybersecurity expertise. In a series of steps that started with the elimination of a White House cybersecurity coordinator and ended with the firing of Christopher Krebs, the highly respected head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the government suffered a serious cybersecurity brain drain during the Trump era.
The first sign that the current administration plans to take cybersecurity more seriously than the previous one did is the hiring of National Security Agency (NSA) official Anne Neuberger to fill the new position of Deputy National Security Adviser for cyber and emerging technology. Neuberger led the NSA’s cybersecurity defense operations and created the Russia small group at the agency to protect the 2018 mid-term elections from the kind of digital damage that marred the 2016 presidential election.
Biden has also tapped former senior national security officials with expertise in cybersecurity. Among them are Michael Sulmeyer, who serves as senior director for cybersecurity; Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, named homeland security adviser; Russ Travers, deputy homeland security adviser; and Caitlin Durkovich, now a senior director for resilience and response at the National Security Council.
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