Washington D.C.’s Evolving Focus on Cybersecurity and International Partnerships [Cybersecurity Brief]

The administration and other D.C. agencies have a lot on their plates, and it seems that they are continuing to acknowledge the significant portion that addressing cybersecurity takes up. From funding to foreign policy and international relationships, the latest cybersecurity stories display the need for an inclusive effort to support cybersecurity’s presence and capability.

As reported by The Washington Post, The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that cybersecurity concerns will receive some of the agency’s top funding. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas explained that this funding will be applied to targeting issues such as the growth in ransomware attacks against both governments and organizations. The incline in such attacks has sectors like local government and industries like hospitals requesting further support in better equipping themselves for these intrusions, especially during the pandemic. Considering all of this, Myorkas stated that DHS will allocate $25 million in cybersecurity grants. DHS also plans to use this type of backing to enhance diversity in the field as well as partnerships abroad. This prioritization comes in the midst of the Biden administration’s increased focus on not just the subject of cybersecurity but of building relationships across the board to address cybersecurity. 

In addition to comments made by President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris has outlined her intent to incorporate cybersecurity into the handling of foreign policy matters. According to CBS News, officials shared that two of her guiding prioritizations are cybersecurity and technology and global health. Featured in the CBS news report is a quote from a White House official stating, “You can’t do all of the other issues of interest without partners, and that is the theme of this administration.” Vice President Harris has already reportedly reached out to allies such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss such topics. Experts provide the context that technology including cybersecurity plays an incredibly relevant role in the mix of geopolitical concerns, therefore highlighting the significance of this approach.

While not directly related, but perhaps a reflection of the international partnership method to addressing cybersecurity issues, cybersecurity authorities of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States have co-authored an advisory warning about the exploitation of the Accellion File Transfer Appliance. As Security Magazine reports, “Cyber actors worldwide have exploited vulnerabilities in Accellion File Transfer Appliance to attack multiple federal, and state, local, tribal, and territorial government organizations as well as private industry organizations in the medical, legal, telecommunications, finance, and energy fields.” Much like the worry over increasing ransomware attacks, cases associated with this report have often been defined by vulnerabilities being taken advantage of in order to receive money in exchange for the data stolen

Key Takeaways:

“The Cybersecurity 202: DHS chief wants to fight another ‘epidemic’ – hackers holding data hostage” – Tonya Riley, The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/02/26/cybersecurity-202-dhs-chief-wants-fight-another-epidemic-hackers-holding-data-hostage/

  • The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that cybersecurity concerns will receive some of the agency’s top funding.
  • DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas explained that this funding will be applied to targeting issues such as the growth in ransomware attacks against both governments and organizations.
  • Myorkas stated that DHS will allocate $25 million in cybersecurity grants.

“Kamala Harris plans to prioritize cybersecurity and global health in foreign policy platform” – Tim Perry, CBS News

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kamala-harris-plans-to-prioritize-cybersecurity-and-global-health-in-foreign-policy-platform/

  • Vice President Kamala Harris has outlined her intent to incorporate cybersecurity into the handling of foregin policy matters.
  • According to CBS News, officials shared that two of her guiding prioritizations are cybersecurity and technology and global health.
  • Vice President Harris has already reportedly reached out to allies such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss such topics.

“CISA releases joint cybersecurity advisory on exploitation of Accellion file transfer appliance” – Security Magazine

https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/94671-cisa-releases-joint-cybersecurity-advisory-on-exploitation-of-accellion-file-transfer-appliance

  • Cybersecurity authorities of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States have co-authored an advisory warning about the exploitation of the Accellion File Transfer Appliance.
  • Cyber actors have taken advantage of Accellion File Transfer Appliance vulnerabilities to extort money in some cases.
  • According to the report from Security Magazine, “multiple federal, and state, local, tribal, and territorial government organizations as well as private industry organizations in the medical, legal, telecommunications, finance, and energy fields” have been targeted.
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