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US Government Forming New Agency To Combat Cyberthreats

A new government agency is being formed to protect the U.S. from cyberattacks in both the public and private sector.

Announced on Tuesday (Feb. 10) by Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will coordinate information between various agencies and departments that handle hacking attacks.

In recent months, President Barack Obama has increased his focus on online threats, in light of major U.S. companies such as Sony and Anthem having had their networks hacked. In October, his administration said it had been the target of attempted hacks on its own computer network.

As expressed in a White House fact sheet that accompanied the budget on Feb. 2: “No system is immune to infiltration by those seeking to steal commercial or government information and property or perpetrate malicious and disruptive activity.”

The new agency’s mission will be comparable to that of the National Counterterrorism Center, an organization formed to improve information sharing after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The agency will provide streamlined analysis of foreign cyberthreats, ensure government agencies have access to the latest intelligence, and support efforts to counter cyberthreats from foreign entities.

In July, Monaco set up a Cyber Response Group in the administration in July. She discussed it in public for the first time at a Bloomberg Government cybersecurity conference in Washington in December. The group is comprised of high-ranking national security officials from the Pentagon, State Department, the FBI and other agencies.

Said Monaco at the time, members of the group “literally get around the table in the Situation Room, pool our knowledge, understand what that threat looks like,” and then figure out how to share information with the private sector so companies can be protected.

In his 2016 budget, Obama proposed spending $14 billion to combat online threats.

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