The U.S. government is creating a new agency aimed to combat, monitor and analyze emerging cybersecurity threats, as well as facilitate information sharing among centers and the private sector.
According to the Washington Post, the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) will further serve to “’connect the dots’ between various cyber threats to the nation, so that relevant departments and agencies are aware or these threats in as close to real time as possible,” said a senior Obama administration official.
The announcement on Tuesday follows several recent large-scale cyber-attacks on U.S. companies, such as the disruptive Sony Pictures hack and the breach at Anthem earlier this month, which led to the exfiltration of more than 80 million customer records.
“The cyberthreat is one of the greatest threats we face, and policymakers and operators will benefit from having a rapid source of intelligence,” said United States Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco in an interview.
“It will help ensure that we have the same integrated, all-tools approach to the cybertheat that we have developed to combat terrorism,” added Monaco.
The CTIIC is said to follow a similar structure to the National Counterterrorism Center, which was established in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, and provide “integrated, all-source analysis” of threats.
“No existing agency has the responsibility for performing these functions,” said the official. “We need these gaps to be filled to help the federal government meet its responsibilities in cybersecurity.”
President Obama called for stronger cybersecurity measures in his State of the Union address on Jan. 20, urging Congress to pass legislation to better protect both companies and consumers against cyber-attacks.
Officials stated the new agency established by presidential memorandum will staff nearly 50 employees, and operate on a $35 million budget.
Tripwire Security Analyst Ken Westin said ensuring that the agency is adequately resourced and staffed will play a critical role in the success of the cyber threat intelligence program.
“Most agencies are already under-resourced given a limited talent pool, paired with the fact that those with the requisite skills can make much more in the private sector,” noted Westin.
However, all skepticism aside, Westin believes the government’s efforts are a step in the right direction.
“I am optimistic that the agency will help make an impact on securing the nation’s cyber infrastructure—it is a great idea long overdue, but the challenge will be in the implementation.”