Ransomware, Governance, Risk and Compliance

CISA forms public-private partnership to fight ransomware, work on cyber defense strategy

Jen Easterly, left, nominee to be the director of the Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and Chris Inglis, nominee to be the national cyber director, testify during their confirmation hearing at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on June 10, 2021, in Washington. Federal agencies are coll...

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency announced Thursday the formation of a new committee that will bring government and industry together to work on cybersecurity issues. The move continues the Biden administration's more proactive stance on cyber that began in May.

The Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC) will focus on finding better ways to fight ransomware and respond to incidents affecting cloud service providers, said CISA Director Jen Easterly. The JCDC will also work on developing a national cyber defense strategy and run joint exercises to improve cyber defense operations.

“The JCDC presents an exciting and important opportunity for this agency and our partners — the creation of a unique planning capability to be proactive versus reactive in our collective approach to dealing with the most serious cyber threats to our nation,” said Easterly. “The industry partners that have agreed to work side-by-side with CISA and our interagency teammates share the same commitment to defending our country’s national critical functions from cyber intrusions, and the imagination to spark new solutions.”

The initial industry partners in the JCDC include the following: Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Crowdstrike, FireEye Mandiant, Google Cloud, Lumen, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, and Verizon. Government partners include the Department of Defense, U.S. Cyber Command, the National Security Agency, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Ron Bushar, senior vice president and CTO for government solutions at Mandiant, said that Mandiant will continue to work closely with the U.S. government and support its efforts to protect critical national infrastructure.

“We are excited to begin working with CISA and the other JCDC members on coordinated national cyber defense plans and capacity-building efforts,” Bushar said. “This collaborative approach is a critical component to the future of our national cyber resiliency and defense.”

"It's essential that the public and private sectors work together to defend against evolving threats and shore up modern IT capabilities that will protect our federal, state and local governments,” said Phil Venables, vice president and chief information security officer at Google Cloud.

“We look forward to working with CISA under the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative and offering our security resources to build a stronger and more resilient cyber defense posture,” said Venables.

The country needs a strong collaborative approach to prevent or mitigate the type of national cyber incidents we’ve seen proliferate over the last year, added Bruce Byrd, general counsel at Palo Alto Networks.

“The JCDC is focused on doing just that — bringing together technology leaders from across the private and public sector,” said Byrd. “Palo Alto Networks applauds the administration for establishing the JCDC, and for recognizing the innovative tools that private industry can bring to the mission.”

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