UPDATED 16:23 EST / AUGUST 05 2021

SECURITY

Cloud giants join new government initiative to combat cyberattacks

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is launching a new initiative through which it will work with private sector companies to combat hacking campaigns. 

The agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, announced the initiative today. Over half a dozen companies have signed on including public cloud leaders Amazon Web Services Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google LLC. AT&T Inc.,  Crowdstrike Holdings Inc., FireEye Inc., Lumen Technologies, Palo Alto Networks Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. are participating as well.

The initiative is called the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative. The Wall Street Journal reported that the initial goals will be to combat ransomware and cyberattacks that target public cloud platforms. To that end, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will work to encourage closer cybersecurity collaboration between the government and the private sector.

“The unique value add of the JCDC is to create a proactive capability for government and private sector to work together closely before an incident occurs to strengthen the connective tissue and ensure a common understanding of processes,” Jen Easterly, the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, was quoted by CyberScoop as saying today.

As part of the initiative, the agency will seek to enhance cybersecurity information sharing between public and private sector organizations. Additionally, the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative will focus on developing new cyber defense plans.

“The JCDC leads the development of plans for cyber defense operations and coordinates execution across the Federal government and with SLTT governments, critical infrastructure owners and operators, industry, and academia,” the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency explains on its website. “The JCDC aims to prevent adversarial attacks through the execution of cyber defense operations plans. Such plans will promote national resilience and facilitate the disruption of malicious cyber activity targeting U.S. critical infrastructure or national interests.”

“We all know that phrases like ‘public-private partnership’ and ‘info-sharing’ have become hackneyed bumper stickers,” Easterly said. “My goal is to ensure that new life is breathed into them, to turn public-private partnership into public private operational collaboration, and information sharing into something that is always timely, relevant, and most importantly, actionable — able to be used by a network defender to help increase the security and resilience of their networks.”

The announcement of the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative comes about three months after President Joe Biden signed an executive order to improve the nation’s cybersecurity. The order calls on the government to launch several new initiatives to modernize the cybersecurity defenses of federal networks and enhance the United States’ ability to respond to cyber incidents. Additionally, the order calls for the removal of barriers to cyber threat information sharing between the government and the private sector. 

Photo: Unsplash

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