Today, as part of ongoing engagement with stakeholders across the country, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger met virtually with the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors to speak to the cybersecurity challenges facing cities and towns across the nation, including the threat from ransomware. Neuberger described the Administration’s ransomware strategy which includes several 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 the federal government’s review to build a cohesive and consistent approach towards ransom payments.
Participants also discussed how mayors and the Administration can work together to prevent and respond to cyber threats against cities and towns, and how to best posture communities across the country to reduce the likelihood of cyber incidents. Neuberger reinforced the Administration’s commitment to ensure state and local governments have the full resources of the federal government when responding to a cyber incident, including the assistance of cybersecurity professionals from the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Neuberger listened to the mayors on the cyber challenges they are facing, and briefed them on measures they can immediately take to help 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 (E.O.) and the Administration’s ongoing efforts to partner with the public and private sectors to strengthen cyber defenses including for critical infrastructure. 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. 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, and urged mayors to immediately convene heads of state agencies to review their cybersecurity posture and continuity plans.
The threat of ransomware is a national security and economic security priority for the Administration. Tomorrow the President will convene key leaders across the interagency to discuss ransomware and strategic efforts to counter it.