Yesterday, as part of her ongoing engagement with stakeholders across the country, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger met with the bipartisan National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) to speak to the cybersecurity challenges facing the nation, including the threat from ransomware. Neuberger stressed the important role state and local governments play in the nation’s cybersecurity, and emphasized the essential role attorneys general play in legal actions aimed at protecting state networks, ensuring consumer privacy, and prosecuting cybercrimes. She listened to the Attorneys General on the cyber challenges their states are facing, and briefed them on the measures that the public and private sector can immediately take to bolster cyber defenses.
Neuberger outlined the measures the Biden Administration has already taken to modernize cyber defenses, including the recent “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity” Executive Order and the Administration’s ongoing efforts to partner with the public and private sectors to strengthen critical infrastructure cyber defenses. She spoke about the recent public-private Cybersecurity Industrial Control Systems Initiative and its pilot program to strengthen cyber resilience in the electric sector, noting the electric sector pilot will soon be followed by similar initiatives to strengthen the cyber resilience of other critical sectors like pipelines, water, and chemicals. Neuberger described the Biden Administration’s ransomware strategy which includes four lines of effort: disruption of ransomware infrastructure and actors by working closely with the private sector; international cooperation to hold countries who harbor ransom actors accountable; expanding cryptocurrency analysis to find and pursue criminal transactions; and reviewing the USG’s ransomware payment policies and approaches. She also underscored the President’s commitment to modernizing existing infrastructure while simultaneously investing in the infrastructure of the future.
In a reference to her open letter to the private sector, Neuberger reiterated the need for private and public sector partnership to effectively guard against ransomware, recalling that much of U.S. critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. She reiterated her call to action that corporate leaders implement the discrete, high-impact cybersecurity measures contained in her open letter, and those referenced in the President’s Executive Order. Investing in cybersecurity is a far better investment for our economy and for companies than paying the funds in ransom.