Biden administration brings expertise, new attitude to cybersecurity

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.

This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.

Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash



Leader of new NSA Cybersecurity Directorate outlines threats, objectives

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Director Anne Neuberger says her group will focus on ransomware, threats to US elections, and nation-state influence operations.

Ransomware, Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are the top cybersecurity threats that will be the focus of a new division within the National Security Agency (NSA), the Cybersecurity Directorate, which is set to be operational on October 1, according to NSA director of cybersecurity Anne Neuberger. She was tapped in July by Director General Paul Nakasone to head the group. The Directorate aims to bring the agency’s foreign intelligence and cyber operations together and “operationalize its threat intelligence, vulnerability assessments and cyber defense expertise,” the agency announced when launching the new division.

“NSA really had to up its game,” Neuberger said in a fireside chat with Niloofar Razi Howe, cybersecurity venture investor and executive at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Washington on September 4. “And that’s what drove this desire to stand up a directorate and frankly to set a pretty aggressive mission, which is to prevent and eradicate cyber actors from national security systems and critical infrastructure with a focus on the defense industrial base.”

This article appeared in CSO Online. To read the rest of the article please visit here.