The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced last week that the Department has formally deployed a system for sharing cybersecurity threat information with the private sector, as required by the Cybersecurity Act of 2015.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson hosted US Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and John Ratcliffe (R-TX) at DHS’ National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) on Thursday to officially launch the new system.
Johnson said the system, known as Automated Indicator Sharing (AIS), is the centerpiece of NCCIC’s efforts. It will enable government agencies and private sector entities to share cyber threat indicators in near real-time, which DHS states will ultimately reduce the prevalence of cybersecurity compromises.
The system will serve as the “See Something, Say Something” of the Internet, allowing participants to build a common, shared knowledge of current cyber threats. When one participant detects a threat, all participants will learn about it.
“We are open for business, on time and on schedule,” Johnson said.
The Cybersecurity Act of 2015, which President Obama signed into law in December, aims to protect the nation’s private sector and federal networks from cyber threats, such as foreign hackers and cyber terrorists, by creating a voluntary cybersecurity information sharing process that allows private and public sector entities to share threat information without fear of legal barriers.
The bill established a number of deadlines for policies and procedures for safeguarding privacy and civil liberties while enabling the sharing of threat information. DHS has demonstrated remarkable success in meeting these deadlines.
Last month, for example, DHS met the deadline for the release of interim guidelines to explain how the government plans to safeguard the data shared under the new law. Johnson commented, “The guidelines issued today are a significant step forward in implementing this important law.”
Deployment of the AIS system is just one out of many steps DHS is taking to improve the nation’s cybersecurity posture. Johnson has referred to cybersecurity as the cornerstone of DHS’s mission, and recently requested an extra $200 million for cybersecurity in next year’s budget.
“While counterterrorism remains a cornerstone of our department’s mission, I have concluded that cybersecurity must be another,” Johnson testified during a recent hearing held by the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Making tangible improvements to our nation’s cybersecurity is a top priority for President Obama and for me to accomplish before the next president is inaugurated.”
During the announcement of the launch of the new system, Johnson thanked Reps. McCaul and Ratcliffe for their support of DHS’ cybersecurity efforts and applauded NCCIC employees for their dedication and hard work to help keep the nation safe and secure from cyber threats.
Rep. McCaul, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, played a major role in the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. The bill included provisions that originated in HR 1731, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act, which was introduced by McCaul and overwhelmingly passed the House on April 23, 2015 by a vote of 355-63.