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CISA chooses London for its first-ever overseas office

Within hours of the US' announcement, the EU also said it would be going the other way and opening its first west-coast office to tackle digital diplomacy

The US cyber security authority has announced that it will open its first-ever overseas attaché office later this month in London.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said the move aims to foster greater collaboration between the US and UK on a range of international issues including cyber security, the protection of critical infrastructure, and emergency communications.

CISA’s attaché office will also serve to further the agency’s international strategic goals which include shaping global policy, increasing collaboration across various operations, and building partner capacity.

IT Pro has approached CISA for further details but it did not reply.

“As America’s cyber defence agency, we know that digital threat actors don’t operate neatly within borders,” said Jen Easterly, CISA director. “To help build resilience against threats domestically, we must think globally. 

“I’m thrilled for CISA’s first international Attaché Office to open in London - true operational collaboration is a global endeavour.”

"We all know that cybercrime is a global issue; adversary groups and threat actors are not constrained by national borders. So the CISA’s decision to open a London office is an important step to help collaboration and improve resource sharing between US and UK," said Ian McShane, VP of strategy at Arctic Wolf to IT Pro.

Heading up the attaché office is Julie Johnson, who has held numerous positions at CISA. These include roles such as regional protective security advisor in the New York Office, which saw Johnson lead research relating to the internet, microgrids, and physical-cyber convergence.

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Johnson also served as CISA’s regional lead for federal interagency working groups and before that, held other positions in the US Department of State, including at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

“Ms Johnson brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and expertise in cyber security and critical infrastructure,” said CISA.

Both CISA and the UK’s equivalent authority, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), work together on cyber security matters regularly, along with the cyber security agencies of the other nations in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

The two agencies often issue joint advisories for businesses and organisations looking to protect themselves against the latest significant cyber security threats

Recent advisories have included warnings against the increased risk of cyber attacks on Western organisations as a result of the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia - the first example of a war fought kinetically and in cyber space too.

The warnings proved true months later when representatives from the NCSC and CISA revealed at CYBERUK 2022 that the attribution for the Viasat attacks could be placed on Russia.

EU heads west

The news comes as the Council of the European Union (EC) announced on the same day that it too would be opening an international office in San Francisco to further its efforts in digital diplomacy and tech regulation.

Announcing the plans to open an office in the home to Silicon Valley giants, the EC said digital diplomacy must become a core component of the EU’s outward-facing actions and coordinated with its efforts in tackling cyber crime.

The EC did not specify a date by which the office will open other than saying it will be “soon”, but it will be the first of the EU’s offices to open on the west coast of the US. It currently holds permanent offices in Washington, DC and New York City, NY.

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