DHS should have a cybersecurity unit, says panel chairman


DHS should have a cybersecurity unit, says panel chairman
  1. DHS should have a cybersecurity unit, says panel chairman
    computerworld.com
    WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security said Wednesday his top priority in 2017 will be to push for creation of a cybersecurity agency within the Department of Homeland Security.“DHS needs focus and resources, and they are doing a decent job, but could be doing a lot better with the help of Congress,” said U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) in comments to reporters at the National Press Club. “It’s not a Republican or Democratic issue.” Ed Schipul …
    Internet

WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security said Wednesday his top priority in 2017 will be to push for creation of a cybersecurity agency within the Department of Homeland Security.

“DHS needs focus and resources, and they are doing a decent job, but could be doing a lot better with the help of Congress,” said U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) in comments to reporters at the National Press Club. “It’s not a Republican or Democratic issue.”

representative michael mccaul texas 100646913 orig Ed Schipul

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas)

McCaul said one vital role for the DHS in the future would be to provide cyber assistance on national elections that are under the management of the states.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson on Friday called for designating the nation’s election infrastructure as a “critical infrastructure,” given the vital role elections play in the country.  Johnson emphasized that the designation does not mean there would be a federal takeover or intrusion into elections.

Well before Johnson’s statement was issued, election officials in several states had reached out to federal authorities prior to the November election for cybersecurity assistance. Many states disconnected their voting machines from the internet as a defense, according to Emma Garrison-Alexander, a vice dean in the cybersecurity program at the University of Maryland University College. She is a former CIO for the Transportation Security Administration.

Given the influence of Russian hackers in the 2016 presidential election and China’s hack of the Office of Personnel Management, McCaul said, “there’s no greater attack than that to our democracy.” McCaul said he agreed with many Republicans that the Russian hacks “really had no impact on the outcome of the election, but it is a dangerous precedent.”

McCaul said he has urged President-elect Donald Trump to “call out Russia for bad behavior” and said the U.S. needs to make some kind of equivalent response.

More generally, McCaul said the DHS – as a civilian agency — needs to work more urgently to assist the private sector in defending the nation’s critical infrastructure, including communications, the electric grid and nuclear energy.

“Eighty percent of the malicious codes are in the private sector,” McCaul…

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