The center will work alongside various industries to identify and prioritize cyber-based risks. It will be operational by Wednesday and will be staffed by existing DHS employees. The announcement is expected to be made at a cyber summit taking place today in New York City.
While President Trump claimed earlier this month that Russia was no longer targeting the US with cyberattacks, the DHS has said Russia-based groups infiltrated US utility companies, has accused Russian attackers of attempting to compromise routers, switches and firewalls and has warned that Russian groups tried to hack US government entities and infrastructure sectors like energy, nuclear, commercial, water, aviation and critical manufacturing sectors. Earlier this month, the NSA created a task force dedicated to tackling online threats originating from Russia.
“Right now there are too many ‘cyber’ voices and none with the authority to truly coordinate anything [in government],” David Merkel, CEO of cybersecurity firm Expel, told the Wall Street Journal. Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning told the publication that the new center would enable the US “to hold the bad guys accountable.”
The Trump administration has been criticized for not taking cybersecurity as seriously as it should. “To the criticisms of the White House not being involved, there is a strategy under way,” said Krebs. “This White House is empowering the agencies to do our jobs. And we are seizing that opportunity.”