Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas urged small businesses to proactively guard against the growing threat of ransomware during a virtual event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Video of the full event is available here.
“We recognize and appreciate the fact that small businesses comprise the backbone of our Nation’s economy,” said Secretary Mayorkas, speaking to the virtual audience of approximately 1,500 small and medium-sized business owners. “It is for that very reason that individuals who pose a threat to our nation – who employ cyber tools and particularly ransomware as the vehicle for realizing that threat – target small businesses as extensively as they do.”
During the event, experts from the Department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and U.S. Secret Service participated in a panel discussion to share detailed guidance on best practices and highlight cybersecurity resources available to businesses and organizations of all sizes.
Secretary Mayorkas also announced the next phase of the Department’s 60-day Cybersecurity Sprints that were launched in March. This second phase will focus on recruiting and retaining diverse cyber talent across the Department, including in leadership positions.
“We’re not only looking at and taking pride in the workforce that we have today, but thinking about the workforce that we will have tomorrow,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “We’re going to be recruiting talent that is already developed. We’re going to be helping develop the talent that is just about to bloom. And we’re going to be investing in the seeds to grow the talent of the future. We are extraordinarily energetic about this effort.”
The Department has set an aggressive goal to hire 200 cyber personnel by July 1, 2021. Of those, CISA aims to extend 100 conditional job offers while other DHS component agencies will aim to extend an additional 100 conditional offers. As a result, this hiring effort is projected to be among the largest cyber hiring actions in DHS history.
Over the next 60 days, DHS will announce additional initiatives, resources, and partnerships that advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s cybersecurity priorities. To champion the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and ensure our workforce represents the communities we serve, DHS will invest in strengthening the education pipeline, increasing equitable access to professional development opportunities, and creating incentives for retaining top tier talent.
Additional Cyber Resources for Small Businesses:
- CISA Ransomware Resources – “One-stop”, including: Ransomware Guide, Ransomware Toolkit, Factsheet, Trainings/Webinars, and Infographics
- CISA Regional Contact Information
- Report an Incident/Vulnerabilities to CISA