Mayorkas announces cyber ‘sprints’ on ransomware, ICS, workforce — FCW


Mayorkas announces cyber ‘sprints’ on ransomware, ICS, workforce

Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday said his agency will begin a series of 60-day sprints focused on ransomware, industrial control systems, transportation systems and election security.

“With respect to responding to ransomware attacks, we will strengthen our capabilities to disrupt those who launch them and the marketplaces that enable them,” Mayorkas said at a virtual conference hosted by RSA.

A second sprint focused on developing the government cybersecurity workforce will begin next month. Mayorkas said that the workforce development push will include a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion and promised to publish the agency’s own diversity data.

“Beyond DHS, we will champion [diversity, equity and inclusion] across the cyber workforce of the entire federal government,” Mayorkas said.

A third sprint on industrial control systems will begin this summer to look at some of the risks arising from the use computer operated physical systems to deliver infrastructure including water, electricity and natural gas. Currently, different standards and regulatory authorities apply across industrial sectors.

“The cybersecurity incident at the water treatment facility in Florida last month was a powerful reminder of the substantial risks we need to address,” he said.

Mayorkas also said the department is drafting a proposal to establish a cybersecurity response and recovery fund to provide assistance to state, local, tribal and territorial governments. He noted the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is continuing to fill state cybersecurity coordinator positions. CISA officials said at recent congressional hearings said they have filled approximately half of those posts so far.

DHS will also begin an awareness campaign focused on educating private industry about resources and services CISA has to offer as well as an expanded cybersecurity grant program…