President Joe Biden is hiring a group of national security veterans with deep cyber expertise, earning praise from former defense officials and investigators as the US government works to recover from one of the biggest hacks of its agencies attributed to Russian spies.
“It is fantastic to see the priority the new administration is giving to cyber,” said Suzanne Spaulding, project director of Defending Democratic Institutions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Cyber security has been demoted as a political field under the Trump administration. He terminated his position as Cyber Security Coordinator at the White House, reduced the State Department’s cyber diplomacy wing, and fired federal cyber security leader Chris Krebs in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s November 3 election defeat.
Released in December, the attack hit eight federal agencies and numerous companies, including software provider SolarWinds Corp. US intelligence agencies publicly blamed it on Russian state actors. Moscow denied involvement in hacking. Under a recent law, Biden must open a cyber-focused office reporting to a new national IT director, who will coordinate the federal government’s vast cyber capabilities, said Mark Montgomery, a former congressman who helped design the role.
According to four people familiar with the selection process, the lead candidate for Cyber Director is Jen Easterly, a former high-ranking officer of the National Security Agency. Now head of resilience at Morgan Stanley, Easterly held several senior intelligence positions in the Obama administration and helped create the United States Cyber Command, the country’s leading cyberwarfare unit.
Easterly did not respond to requests for comment. The Biden administration “has appointed world-class cybersecurity experts to leadership positions,” Microsoft corporate vice president Tom Burt said in a statement.
Some observers fear, however, that the collective group’s experience is almost entirely in the public sector, said a former official and industry analyst who requested anonymity. The distinction is important because the vast majority of US Internet infrastructure is owned and operated by US companies. “Finding a good balance with government and business experience will be critical to success,” said former director of cybersecurity at DHS Amit Yoran, now CEO of security firm Tenable Inc.
To replace Krebs at the Department of Homeland Security, Biden intends to appoint Rob Silvers, who also worked in the Obama administration, to become director of the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, according to four people briefed on the matter. Silvers declined to comment on this article. Biden’s National Security Council, an arm of the White House that drives an administration’s security priorities, includes five cybersecurity-savvy officials.
Leading the hiring is Anne Neuberger, a senior National Security Agency official, as Deputy National Security Advisor for Information and Emerging Technology, a new position designed to elevate the topic internally. “The United States Remains Sadly Unprepared for 21st Century Security Threats: Establishing and Prioritizing a DNSA for Cyber and Emerging Tech on the NSC indicates the seriousness that the Biden administration will take to address these challenges, “said Phil Reiner, chief executive of the Institute for Security and Technology.
Neuberger has become one of the NSA’s most visible figures in recent years after leading the cyber defense wing of the spy agency, attracting praise for quickly alerting companies to hacking techniques in use in other countries. The other four hires are Michael Sulmeyer as Senior Cyber Director, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall as National Security Advisor, Russ Travers as Deputy National Security Advisor, and Caitlin Durkovich as Senior Director for Resilience and Response at the NSC.
All four previously held senior national security posts dealing with cyber security.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)
- President Joe Biden is hiring a group of national security veterans with deep cyber expertise, earning praise from former defense officials and investigators as the US government works to recover from one of the biggest hacks of its agencies attributed to Russian spies. “It is fantastic to see the priority the new administration is giving to cyber,” said Suzanne Spaulding, project director of Defending Democratic Institutions at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
- After a major attack on the US government, Biden enlists a “world-class” cybersecurity team