The Biden administration has been plagued with several issues over the past almost seven months, perhaps none more obvious than the flurry of repeated cyber-attacks that have touched every sector of the American economy and critical infrastructure.
With headlines dominated by attacks against Kaseya, Colonial Pipeline, beef supplier JBS and Apple, it’s easy to forget that countless public and private entities are still assessing their exposure as a result of the monumental SolarWinds attack.
In an effort to combat this never-ending string of attacks, the U.S. government has been rolling out a series of new initiatives to attempt to intercept future attacks, while victims count their losses surrendered to what has become a billion-dollar hacking for profit industry.
Some of these recent initiatives include the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) "Reduce the Risk of Ransomware Campaign," as well as an increase in funding for governmental entities via Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants.
The FEMA grant plan, which was announced in the first quarter of 2021, allows for state and local governments to obtain grant money from the agency provided that they spend a minimum of at least 7.5% of the money towards improving cybersecurity in their jurisdiction.
These kinds of grants are actually relevant to the week’s big news of new infrastructure spending, as FEMA’s budget for the grants is expected to grow by $1 billion via the recent Senate approved $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
If the bill, in its current form, is able to pass the U.S. House and is signed into law by President Biden, new grant spending would total $200 million in 2022, double to $400 million in 2023, $300 million in 2024 and $100 million in 2025.
What exact criteria needs to be met to establish eligibility for these grants will be defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which is a sub-division of DHS.
CISA itself just rolled out one of the more notable of these new cyber-themed initiatives last week, as newly minted director, Jen Easterly, announced the new Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC) at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference on Aug. 5.
During her speech at the conference, Easterly, who sported a "Free Britney" T-shirt in reference to pop star Britney Spears’ controversial conservatorship, explained that the CISA led initiative will reach out to the public sector for help in shoring up American cybersecurity.
Among the companies already named to assist in the effort are the so-called "Big-Tech" giants Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
Although the mention of these companies may elicit a negative response from many on the right for reasons related to censorship, they all undeniably possess a level of expertise useful to CISA.
Microsoft for example, the company that provides users one of the world’s most popular anti-virus suites, Microsoft Defender Antivirus (formally Windows Defender), also created the Microsoft Detection and Response Team (DART).
DART is tasked by the company with working along with outside security organizations and conducting investigative services for both governmental and private entities including financial institutions, which are under constant attack by hacking groups.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Services (GCS) also protect their millions of customers globally with some of the most competent security professionals in the world and can readily leverage their machination to stay at the cutting edge of new technology.
For the U.S. government to be able to readily tap into the vast real-world experience and seemingly limitless resources of these companies in order to deal with emerging threats is certainly one of the best decisions any agency operating under the Biden administrations has made recently.
With the rise in new ransomware attacks and the constant danger posed by international state-sponsored Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), it seems that the initial actions taken by CISA’s new director under Jen Easterly constitute a well calculated response.
Even if that response is beyond overdue.
Julio Rivera is a small business consultant, political activist, writer, and Editorial Director for Reactionary Times. He has been a regular contributor to Newsmax since 2016. His commentary has also appeared in The Hill, The Washington Times, LifeZette, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Toronto Sun, PJ Media and more. Read Julio Rivera's Reports — More Here.
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