US Government to set up dedicated cybersecurity agency to co-ordinate cyber threats

cybersecurityThe United States Government is setting up a dedicated cybersecurity agency following a year of high profile hacking attacks in 2014.

The new agency, to be called the Cyber Threat and Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) falls under the control of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and will centrally coordinate analysis of cyber threats.

According to the Washington Post, the agency is modelled after the National Counterterrorism Center, which was launched in the wake of 9/11 amid criticism that the government failed to share intelligence that could have unraveled the al-Qaeda plot.

Homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco said that the new agency will rapidly pool and disseminate data on cyberbreaches as “currently, no single government entity is responsible for producing coordinated cyber threat assessments” and sharing the information rapidly. The new agency “is intended to fill these gaps.”

“The cyberthreat is one of the greatest threats we face, and policymakers and operators will benefit from having a rapid source of intelligence” said added.

The announcement received mixed feedback, with some questioning the need for yet another Government agency.

Tom Kellermann, Chief Cybersecurity Officer at Trend Micro Inc. told Yahoo! News that he believed the unit is redundant. “You don’t necessarily need a new center,” he noted, while pointing out the existence of a similar Homeland Security unit that shares cyberthreat information with the private sector.

“We should not be creating more organizations and bureaucracy,” Melissa Hathaway, President of Hathaway Global Strategies told The Post. “We need to be forcing the existing organizations to become more effective—hold them accountable.”

The new Department comes as part of the push by the Obama Administration to get tough on hacking and cyberterrorism following a number of high profile attacks in 2014, including the now infamous hacking of Sony Corp. by North Korea. That attack was described by officials as particularly worrying because hackers stole data, debilitated computers and pressured the studio to halt release of satirical film The Inteview.

In related news, President Obama will host a “cyber summit” with industry and government leaders at Stanford University in California on Friday.