At a glance.
- US State Department reorganizes for the diplomatic challenges of cybersecurity.
- US Congress considers bill to help secure COVID-19 research from hackers.
- Defense Department's role in US cybersecurity: an overview.
US State Department reshuffles responsibility for cybersecurity as a diplomatic topic.
Federal News Network’s Tom Temin discussed with Government Accountability Office Director of International Affairs and Trade Issues Brian Mazanec the US State Department’s plan to unify its global cybersecurity efforts in a new Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies. The Bureau is set to debut in the next few months. Mazanec said the move comes in response to “an expanding array of foreign cyber threats” and did not result from a legislative directive. In fact, some congressmen oppose the program and back the rival, more robust Cyber Diplomacy Act. State’s proposal would partner the bureau with the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, and Treasury—apparently unbeknownst to several of those cooperating Departments.
Mazanec’s team recommended greater coordination among stakeholders in the plan’s development, but State demurred, arguing that their restructuring is their business, and besides, they didn’t get a say in other departments’ reorganizations. Mazanec’s concerns are “potential fragmentation” and “duplication of effort.” He mentioned the irony of State not coordinating with other offices on its plan to improve coordination with other offices, and stressed the importance of the “complex, interagency challenges” the new Bureau will face. Temin echoed his concern, saying, “you wonder how the United States can get its shoes on before, to misquote Mark Twain, the cyber security criminals have been around the world 10 times.”
Defend COVID Research from Hackers Act introduced.
This week US Republican Senators proposed a new bill to protect vaccine research in response to reports of Beijing, Tehran, and Moscow-linked hacking attempts, IPWatchdog reports. The senators described the attacks, which the CyberWire has covered, as a threat to national security. The Act would allow new sanctions on offenders along with travel and transaction prohibitions, and would order an update on the attacks.
US cyberstrategy: a review.
SiliconANGLE summarized Washington’s current cybersecurity game plan as refracted through the Department of Defense and its National Security Agency, which we further summarize in eight bullet points:
- Collaborate with foreign friends, commercial colleagues, and academic allies.
- Spend on research and resilience.
- Keep up with new tech.
- Bolster aquatic, ground, sky, cyber, and space force communications.
- Design systems to minimize data access authorizations.
- Seal the supply chain to foreign threats.
- Leverage satellites’ intelligence capabilities.
- Cultivate cyber talent, and lots of it.