DHS John Felker and Kirstjen Nielsen on Cyber Resilience and Incident Response

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As the Department of Homeland Security continues to advance in handling cyber threats the U.S. faces, the director of NCCIC John Felker improved capabilities and operational capacity of highly skilled professionals, including digital forensics investigators. Reducing and addressing the risk of systematic cyber security and communication challenges is one of the top priorities. Nation state threat actors’ cyber intrusion are on microscope watch, and reported to the whole world, as we could see done with  Asian threat actor infiltrating networks for intellectual properties, as reported by US-CERT press release 

The department Automated Indicator Sharing (AIS) program is now over two years old, and still needs stronger support from the commercial community. According to Mr. Felker cyber threat sharing is a team sport, and DHS needs more teammates to create bigger impact in the community.  Mr. Felker is not alone, and many of his DHS colleagues speak openly about DHS agenda for the nation.  

“Today’s cyber attacks can manifest in physical consequences and attackers are deploying cyber weapons to disrupt and destruct, requiring much more sophisticated defenses,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at the SINET conference in Washington on Thursday, organized by Robert Rodriguez. “Infrastructure continues to be a significant target of interest for a diverse group of threat actors. Nation-states such as Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, as well as cyber criminals, terrorist groups, and others today can initiate attacks anywhere in the world, any time.”  

The department plans to leverage partnerships through the National Risk Management Center (NRMC) which will analyze how to leverage cross-sector functions and understand how to make them cyber resilient against adversaries. DHS would also like to use the center as a hub, where government officials can meet with critical infrastructure firms to plan mitigation of the risk and threats that challenge the U.S. digital world.  

“I will never tell you as secretary of Homeland Security that we can protect against everything, because we can’t. So we ourselves are instilling the culture of what I call ‘relentless resilience.’ As part of that, we have to focus from a risk perspective on what is most important, what is most critical. We will work with industry to do just that,” Nielsen said at SINET. 

NCCIC will strongly continue its critical mission activities in information exchange, training and exercises, risk and vulnerability assessments, data synthesis and analysis, operational planning and coordination, watch operations, and incident response and recovery.