The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes that the next major attack on the U.S. is more likely to come by computers.
“We are in a crisis mode,” said DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a cybersecurity summit in New York, according to CNBC. “A cat 5 hurricane has been forecast, and we must prepare.”
Her comments echoed those of Dan Coats, head of the Office of the Department of National Intelligence (ODNI), who recently warned of a “cyber-9/11.”
One way the DHS is preparing for a cyber event is by launching the National Risk Management Center this year to connect government agencies and corporations. The center, which will be housed at DHS headquarters in Washington, aims to provide a “single point of access to the full range of government activities to defend against cyberthreats.”
In the past, companies have been reluctant to share information with the government. Multinational companies have often faced backlash due to concerns over what information they were sharing with U.S. authorities. In addition, companies are afraid of additional regulatory action and having to hand over proprietary or damaging information to industry competitors as a result of cooperating with the government. Nielsen said the new risk center will ease some of those fears, and provide a more effective “crowd-sourced” response to various types of attacks. She added that the DHS expects to launch the initiative immediately.
By sharing information between the two parties, the agency is trying to avoid a single attack that creates a multitude of problems across these industries.
The agency has also formed a new elections task force to help U.S. secretaries of state evaluate their security risk before the November midterm elections. And that’s not all: the DHS will introduce a new voluntary supply chain risk management initiative to enlist cybersecurity experts from companies, in cooperation with government agencies, to help find security weaknesses.