The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has taken a significant step towards enhancing the cybersecurity posture of the nation’s critical infrastructure sectors. The agency has announced the launch of an innovative pilot program, aimed at extending cutting-edge cybersecurity shared services to critical infrastructure entities, especially those most in need of such support. This move marks a pivotal development in CISA’s ongoing efforts to fortify national cyber defenses against an increasingly complex and evolving threat landscape.
Boosting Cybersecurity in Critical Infrastructure
Central to this initiative is CISA’s focus on identifying and collaborating with critical infrastructure entities that could benefit from leveraging commercial shared services provided by the agency. This approach is tailored to evaluate and stress-test CISA’s service delivery mechanisms. More importantly, it showcases CISA’s capability to acquire, deploy, and operate cybersecurity services on a large scale, ensuring robustness and efficiency in its cybersecurity efforts. The program is set to demonstrate CISA’s readiness and adaptability in managing cyber threats across diverse infrastructure sectors. The pilot program’s inception is a direct response to the escalating volume and sophistication of cyber threats targeting the United States’ critical infrastructure. Events such as the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline and the activities of advanced threat actors have brought to light the urgent need for enhanced cybersecurity measures. By extending its services beyond federal agencies, CISA aims to provide a safety net for infrastructure entities that are rich in targets but poor in resources, especially in sectors that are vital yet vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Target Rich, Resource Poor
In its initial phase, the pilot program will focus on three specific sectors that CISA Director Jen Easterly has identified as “Target Rich, Resource Poor.” These sectors include healthcare, water, and K-12 education, all of which play crucial roles in the daily lives of Americans and are increasingly reliant on potentially vulnerable digital infrastructure. The program seeks to establish a common baseline of cyber protection across these sectors, ultimately reducing the frequency and impact of damaging cyberattacks.
CISA’s Deploys Protective DNS Resolver
One of the key components of the pilot program is the deployment of CISA’s Protective Domain Name System (DNS) Resolver. Until now, this tool was exclusively available to federal civilian agencies. The Protective DNS Resolver is a proven and cost-effective solution that employs U.S. government and commercial threat intelligence. It functions by preventing systems from connecting to known or suspected malicious domains, thereby mitigating common cyber risks such as ransomware, phishing, and malicious redirects.
By offering these services, CISA is not only expanding its reach but also demonstrating its commitment to a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to national cybersecurity. The pilot program, therefore, represents a strategic expansion of CISA’s role as a provider of cybersecurity services, transitioning from a federal focus to encompassing a wider spectrum of critical infrastructure entities across the nation. This initiative by CISA aligns with the broader national objective of strengthening cybersecurity defenses. As the threat landscape evolves, so does the need for innovative and scalable solutions that can effectively address the complex challenges faced by critical infrastructure sectors. Through this pilot program, CISA is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of cybersecurity in the United States, ensuring the resilience and security of essential services that underpin American society.
How Can Netizen Help?
Netizen ensures that security gets built-in and not bolted-on. Providing advanced solutions to protect critical IT infrastructure such as the popular “CISO-as-a-Service” wherein companies can leverage the expertise of executive-level cybersecurity professionals without having to bear the cost of employing them full time.
We also offer compliance support, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and more security-related services for businesses of any size and type.
Additionally, Netizen offers an automated and affordable assessment tool that continuously scans systems, websites, applications, and networks to uncover issues. Vulnerability data is then securely analyzed and presented through an easy-to-interpret dashboard to yield actionable risk and compliance information for audiences ranging from IT professionals to executive managers.
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