At a glance.
- US Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council reviews lessons from 2020.
- US Department of Homeland Security outlines cybersecurity plans.
- French government to upgrade security after cyberattacks on hospitals.
- US Congressional calls for a cyberspace ambassador.
Election Council reviews 2020 successes and areas for growth.
Last week the US Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC) met to discuss “lessons learned,” according to Meritalk, lauding the “unprecedented level” of intergovernmental collaboration in 2020. In a statement shared by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the GCC said “the election community continues to be unified and committed to working together on election cybersecurity.”
US Homeland Security Secretary outlines cyber plans.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) summarized Secretary Mayorkas’ cybersecurity agenda and upcoming cyber projects, which include international outreach, domestic speaking engagements, raising FEMA grants’ baseline cybersecurity spend, elevating CISA’s “Reduce the Risk of Ransomware” initiative, and promoting the Secret Service’s ransomware response capabilities. Public-private partnership, workforce development, and infrastructure renovation are additional priorities.
The bulletin, reprinted in Homeland Security today, highlighted recent DHS cyber successes, like the Secret Service’s arrest of more than one-thousand individuals suspected of cyber-enabled financial offenses in 2020, and the commencement of the Secure and Resilient Mobile Network Infrastructure venture. CISA also developed “shared cybersecurity services” available to Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial entities; interrupted North Korean mischief; and instituted a Federal vulnerability disclosure program.
The Hill noted the positive response of the House Homeland Security Committee and Cybersecurity Subcommittee chairs: “For several years, the Federal government has underestimated the cyber threats posed to state and local networks and neglected the federal government’s responsibility to help defend them.” The representatives plan to reintroduce the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, which would set up a $400 million grant scheme.
France plans to upgrade cyber defenses after hospital hacks.
In the wake of two recent attacks on French hospitals that left staff taking notes on paper and forced providers to relocate patients and delay procedures, SecurityWeek says Paris is setting aside €500 million to enhance public and private cyberdefenses. The country’s National Cybersecurity Agency found a two-hundred-fifty percent uptick in ransomware attacks last year, with health care networks as a primary target.
Members of Congress call for a cyberspace ambassador.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a cohort of congressmen intends to reintroduce a revamped Cyber Diplomacy Act that would create a cyber ambassador in charge of a cyber bureau with an economic, security, and human rights purview. The ambassador would work to build norms through foreign diplomacy and domestic outreach. Advocates maintain the now-defunct Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues encouraged other countries to beef up their cyber diplomacy, and the US is now falling behind.
Former Secretary of State Pompeo last month established an alternative to the proposed bureau with a narrower security focus: the Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies. New Secretary of State Blinken has made favorable noises about the alternative and is considering its possibilities.