At a glance.
- CISA’s election security toolkit.
- Discussion of the US CHIPS Act (which China doesn’t much care for).
- First CISA Director, Chris Krebs, outlines steps the US federal government can take to improve cybersecurity.
CISA’s election security toolkit.
Yesterday the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) released its “Protecting U.S. Elections: A CISA Cybersecurity Toolkit,” described as “a one-stop catalog of free services and tools available for state and local election officials to improve the cybersecurity and resilience of their infrastructure.” CISA developed this through its Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC), working with both private and public sector organizations and JCDC alliance members to develop these resources. CISA breaks down the purpose of the catalog into three parts for election officials:
- “Assess their risk using an Election Security Risk Profile Tool developed by CISA and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission;
- “Find tools related to protecting voter information, websites, email systems, and networks; and
- “Protect assets against phishing, ransomware, and distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks.”
“I am very proud to announce another valuable resource that can help officials further reduce their cyber risk and improve their security posture. Each day, state and local election officials confront threats to their infrastructure from foreign interference, nefarious actors, insider threats, and others. This is one more resource to help them in their ongoing efforts to ensure American elections remain secure and resilient,” said CISA director Jen Easterly.
Discussion of the US CHIPS Act (which China doesn’t much care for).
President Biden signed a law, known as the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, to invest $280 billion taxpayer dollars into technology research and subsidization of computer chip companies to keep America strong and innovative in the sector, the New York Times reports. $52 billion is set aside in the bill to help companies build and expand computer chip factories, as well as providing research and worker training. US officials are reportedly worried about the fact that computer chips are not produced en masse in the States, and that none of the most sophisticated chips, namely, ones for military and smartphone usage, are produced stateside. Advocates argue that this levels the playing field for the States, noting subsidies from other governments as a reason for the higher expense for the nation. Taiwan’s standing with China is also a concern, as the nation houses the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which makes build-to-order chips for many companies.
$200 billion is for programs focused on American invention. This money is to be used to create 20 regional technology centers focused on government-backed developments in chips, energy technologies and biotechnology, as well as a bit for next-generation jobs and tech research that doesn’t immediately produce results. The Wall Street Journal calls this spending wasteful, saying that the beneficiaries are primarily the government and large corporations. The New York Times, however, argues that the government may be critical to innovation, although more government spending may not be the only ingredient necessary.
ZDNet reports that China is unhappy with this bill, saying that it would disrupt international trade and hold back global economic recovery. Chinese trade associations say that the incentivization of the creation of US factories and jobs will force change in the semiconductor labor market and will have an adverse effect on international companies. They also noted that this doesn’t conform to the World Trade Organization’s “non-discrimination principles” and identified countries that they believe are being unfairly targeted by the bill. Consulting firm PwC said, “The Chips Act may present semiconductor companies with an opportunity, but realising its potential will require a rethinking of global strategy as well as a plan for digital transformation, capital project management, and financial planning. Geopolitical uncertainty, combined with recent dramatic shifts in the market, requires companies to make careful assessments about their place in the semiconductor value chain and how they can improve their position."
First CISA Director, Chris Krebs, outlines steps the US federal government can take to improve cybersecurity.
Former US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) Director, Chris Krebs, spoke on the state of cybersecurity in the United States and the steps he believes the government can take to strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity posture, Nextgov reports. In his keynote address at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, he highlights how he believes that the government should take a more proactive approach to mitigating and responding to cyber threats. “I think we have to take a hard look at the way we’re organized and make a smarter, more efficient, more organized government,” Krebs said.
He cited Franklin Roosevelt’s 1939 Reorganization Act, which created the executive office of the president and restructured government for the modern era, as an model of the restructuring he believes needs to happen in order to bolster the nation’s cybersecurity standing. One idea he had was to create a digital agency utilizing elements of responsibility from CISA, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and other federal agencies to handle cybersecurity and digital privacy-related issues. SC Media reports that another proposed option is doing away with CISA’s Homeland Security association, and making the agency its own “sub-cabinet agency.”
Krebs said, “The bad actors are getting their wins and until we make meaningful consequences and impose costs on them, they will continue. Ransomware is here and it’s so prevalent and it’s gotten professionalized, and the barriers of entry have dropped. Now they have availability or options for exploits that were the remit of nation states only a couple of years ago because the money is there, they’re profiting and it’s not costing them anything. They’re not feeling pain.”