CISA partners with Microsoft, Google Cloud, and AWS for national cyber defense effort

The agency aims to bring together the public and private sectors to bolster the nation’s response to cyber attacks

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) launched a new agency effort yesterday to lead the development of cyber defense plans and their execution by bringing together the public and private sectors, with companies like Microsoft, Google Cloud, and AWS taking part.

The initiative, called the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC), will integrate “unique” cyber capabilities across multiple federal agencies, state and local governments, and “countless” private sector entities.

It aims to design and implement whole-of-the nation cyber defense plans, share insight to shape joint understanding of challenges and opportunities for cyber defense, implement coordinated defensive cyber operations to prevent and reduce the effects of cyber intrusions, and support joint exercises to improve them.

The private companies involved so far include AWS, AT&T, Crowdstrike, FireEye Mandiant, Google Cloud, Lumen, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, and Verizon. However, the JCDC is hoping to include more private sector partners from across different industries as its focus areas expand.

Public sector 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.

“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,” said CISA director Jen Easterly. “With these extraordinarily capable partners, our initial focus will be on efforts to combat ransomware and developing a planning framework to coordinate incidents affecting cloud service providers.”

Meanwhile, two US senators introduced a bill yesterday that aims to strengthen the cyber security of critical infrastructure and target foreign governments that harbour cyber criminals. The legislation also looks to develop regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges to reduce the anonymity of accounts and users suspected of ransomware activity and make these records available to the US government in connection with ransomware incidents.

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