PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas hosted a Town Hall meeting with local DHS employees in Denver, Colo., where he recognized them for the hard work they do every day to protect our homeland.
Official DHS Photo | Download High-Resolution Image (2400 x 1597)
Secretary Johnson today hosted U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul and John Ratcliffe at DHS’ National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to officially deploy a system to exchange cyber threat indicators between government and the private sector at machine speed.
The system, known as Automated Indicator Sharing (AIS), will mitigate cyber threats in near-real-time, ultimately reducing the prevalence of cybersecurity compromises. Secretary Johnson presented the congressmen with an official notice certifying the deployment of AIS, meeting the deadline of today set by the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. DHS has also met prior deadlines to establish policies and procedures on privacy and how to share information.
Secretary Johnson said that, DHS is “open for business” to receive cyber threat indicators from the public and private sectors at machine speed. This automated, real-time information sharing system is the centerpiece of our efforts at the NCCIC, he added.
AIS uses a standard that is still evolving, to adhere to the timelines established in the legislation. Participants will eventually include federal departments and agencies, private companies, non-profit organizations, academia, foreign allies, and Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations.
This system will serve as the "See Something, Say Something" of the Internet. When one participant detects a threat, all participants in AIS will learn about it. By broadening the depth and increasing the speed of cybersecurity information sharing, the country as a whole will be better able to manage cyber threats. The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 also provides targeted liability protection to companies that share cyber threat indicators with DHS or with each other. And like all of the department’s cybersecurity programs, AIS includes rigorous privacy and civil liberties protections.
Secretary Johnson thanked Congressmen McCaul, Ratcliffe and Thompson 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.
By Greg Touhill, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications, NPPD
Cyber threats to critical infrastructure remain one of our Nation’s most serious security and economic sustainability challenges. With over 80 percent of critical infrastructure owned by the private sector, and with millions of cyber-dependent equities owned by individuals or federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) entities and agencies, securing cyberspace must be achieved collaboratively. Exercises are critical to testing this coordination, and more importantly, to building and maintaining strong relationships among the cyber incident response community.
Last week more than 1,100 people from more than 60 organizations across the country and worldwide participated in the nation’s most extensive cybersecurity exercise, hosted by the Department of Homeland Security, Cyber Storm V. The exercise included participants from the healthcare and public health, IT, communications and commercial facilities sectors, as well as federal agencies, eight states, and international organizations.
Participants were presented with a scenario that drove them to exercise their training, policies, processes, and procedures for identifying and responding to a multi-sector cyber attack targeting critical infrastructure. The Cyber Storm V scenario created an environment where no one organization was in a position where they themselves could stop or mitigate the impacts of the attack. The scope of the scenario thus promoted the exercising of cooperation and information sharing across the United States government, states, the private sector, and international partners.
The DHS National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) served as the focal point for federal response and coordination during the exercise. NCCIC is a 24x7 cyber situational awareness, incident response, and management center that is a national nexus of cyber and communications integration for the Federal Government, intelligence community, and law enforcement. NCCIC also is designated as the federal interface for private sector information sharing, cross-sector coordination and incident response.
The Cyber Storm V after action process began with a discussion of initial, high-level findings. An after action conference will help validate these findings and inform the development of an after action report.
For more information about the Cyber Storm exercise series, and to view the final reports from Cyber Storms I-IV, visit https://www.dhs.gov/cyber-storm.
Hello Twitter! This week, Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas took over the DHS Twitter account to answer questions from across the country about the Department’s key missions and priorities. We’re already looking forward to the next #DHSchat.
From Feb. 29 to March 3, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson was in Turkey to further our cooperation and collaboration with his counterparts. Working with governments around the world, like the government of Turkey, allows us to keep our homeland safer and more secure.
For the trip, Secretary Johnson was joined by U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass as well as senior leadership from across the Department.
Secretary Johnson’s first stop in Turkey was Adana, located approximately 90 miles from the border with Syria. In Adana, the Secretary visited the Saricam Refugee Camp, a Turkish-government run Syrian refugee camp that houses more than 10,000 refugees. While at the Saricam camp, Secretary Johnson spoke to a number of Syrian and Iraqi refugee children and families.
In Istanbul, Secretary Johnson met with the Governor of Istanbul Vasip Sahin, to discuss ways to deepen our bilateral collaboration.
While in Istanbul, Secretary Johnson and the official delegation had the opportunity to partake in the longstanding Turkish culture and tradition, taking moments throughout the trip to admire the rich history and national treasures.
On Thursday, Secretary Johnson traveled to Ankara. He had the privilege of participating in a ceremonial wreath laying at the tomb of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of Turkey.
The Secretary met with Turkish Customs and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfenkci to sign a Letter of Intent aimed at advancing border security and promoting information sharing in the pursuit of enhanced customs enforcement.
In addition to Minister Tüfenkci, Secretary Johnson also met with the Turkish Minister of Interior Efkan Ala with whom he signed a Letter of Intent to advance security cooperation between U.S. and Turkish law enforcement agencies.
DHS seeks to deepen its partnerships with Turkey to enhance aviation and border security, combat terrorism, and bolster customs enforcement through international collaboration and the sharing of best practices.
-Assistant Secretary Andy Ozment and Deputy Assistant Secretary Greg Touhill
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) works closely with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the electric sector to ensure the security, resilience, and reliability of the U.S. power grid. Additionally, many American utility providers have invested heavily in both cyber and physical security. While the U.S. power grid is highly resilient, it’s important for owners and operators of electric and other critical infrastructure sector assets to be aware of this particular threat and to implement mitigation steps that will reduce their vulnerabilities to similar cyber-attacks and other malicious activity employing these tactics, techniques, and procedures. To be clear, this threat applies to any sector that uses industrial control systems, not just the electric sector.
Last December, several Ukrainian power companies experienced an apparent cyber-attack that resulted in unscheduled power outages lasting up to six hours that impacted over 200,000 customers. At the request of the Ukrainian government, an U.S. interagency team comprised of representatives from DHS’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) and United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) as well as the DOE, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, traveled to Ukraine to gather information about the incident and identify potential mitigations.
At this time, there is no evidence of similar malicious activity affecting U.S. critical infrastructure. However, U.S. critical infrastructure entities have been affected by targeted intrusions in recent years, and it is imperative that critical infrastructure owners and operators across all sectors are aware and up-to-date on the cyber threat landscape and the measures they can take to protect their assets.
As part of our ongoing mission to share information, DHS has posted a public alert on the ICS-CERT website, in addition to a technical alert to a secure portal for critical infrastructure partners. The Department has also provided briefings to critical infrastructure partners and international allies. DHS has already provided a briefing to the electric sector, and we have upcoming briefings with the chemical, nuclear, transportation, natural gas, and water sectors via Sector Coordinating Councils and Information Sharing and Analysis Centers.
Critical infrastructure owners and operators need to be aware of malicious cyber activity and take measures to protect their assets. They should read the ICS-CERT Incident Alert regarding this incident and implement mitigation practices outlined in the alert. Those recommended mitigation actions will reduce their exposure to many types of cyber threats. More detailed technical information is available on the secure ICS-CERT portal. To join this portal, critical infrastructure owners and operators should email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more general recommendations, critical infrastructure owners and operators should review the “Seven Steps to Effectively Defend Industrial Control Systems.”
Our work does not stop here. DHS is planning an expanded outreach campaign to all critical infrastructure sector asset owners and operators to discuss the Ukraine incident and provide detection and mitigation strategies to prevent cyber-attacks using these malicious techniques and tactics. Information sharing is a key part of our cybersecurity mission and we will continue to do so in the interest of public safety.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Secretary Johnson visited a Turkish-government run Syrian Refugee camp in Adana, Turkey, where he spoke to a number of Syrian and Iraqi refugee families and met with government officials in Istanbul and Ankara to deepen our commitment to working together in support of homeland security missions.
Official DHS Photo by Barry Bahler | Download High-Resolution Image (2100 x 1402)
I wholeheartedly agree with the President when he said in a recent interview with Popular Science that, “when young people are excited about science, technology, engineering, and math, that’s not just good for them. That’s good for America.”
This week is an example of fostering that excitement as the White House celebrates National Week at the Labs. DHS S&T will do its part to inspire and involve students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or what we call STEM. An education in STEM means so much more than sitting in a laboratory, it provides the necessary skills to enter the cutting-edge technology fields. This could be anything from a FitBit® to a self-driving car.
I see on a daily basis how important STEM is to our nation as the head of the research and development arm of DHS. We create technological capabilities for DHS components and first responders, like a 3-D printed robot to be assembled on site, allowing bomb squads to assess threats with minimal risk to others. Our world is ever-changing, and it wasn’t that long ago that a single computer could fill a room and was only operated by highly-trained scientists. Today, grade-school children use smart phones and tablets that can do the work of ten of those room-sized computers.
Just a couple weeks ago, I sat down with students at Thurgood Marshall Academy in DC to talk with them about the real-world value of STEM. We need to encourage young people to seek out STEM-related careers and ensure STEM skills are a part of their everyday development; you never know who is going to come up with the next self-driving car.
S&T supports the President’s efforts to encourage everyone, including women and minorities, to pursue careers in STEM fields, and we always look for ways to create opportunities. We launched an initiative to increase outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as other communities of Minority Serving Institutions. S&T’s Centers of Excellence research network includes about 50 Minority Serving Institutions and stress the importance of drawing under-represented groups into STEM related fields. Additionally, our Workforce Development Initiatives help educate and train the current and future homeland security workforce in science and engineering professions through grants, internships and fellowships, and allow students an opportunity to acquire advanced technical knowledge and training that otherwise might not be available to them through the average classroom.
In the coming months, I’ll continue to speak to middle and high school students to empower and inspire today’s youth to seek out STEM careers, and fuel their curiosity through storytelling and live demonstrations.
The STEM students I meet are passionate and energized about pursuing all that is possible as we continue to make amazing technological strides. Their attitudes and vision will continue make our planet a better place for everyone, and I will do my part to ensure that every student feels that possibility to be on the frontlines of technology for his or herself. Right now, there is a student somewhere who will go on to be a leader in the sciences, perhaps even lead S&T here at DHS.
DHS Science and Technology leads in the research and development of cutting-edge and living saving technologies (DHS Photo)
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Secretary Johnson enjoys a laugh with members of the Tuskegee Airmen prior to an African American History Month event at TSA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia on Feb. 25, 2016. The Tuskegee Airmen participated in a panel discussion about their participation in air and ground crew operations and in support roles in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
Official DHS photo by Jetta Disco | Download High-Resolution Image (4323 x 2886)
On Feb. 20, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson traveled to Laredo, Texas, where he participated in an International Bridge Ceremony, also known as the “Abrazo Ceremony,” on the Juárez-Lincoln International Bridge. The ceremony was followed by a parade and is part of a 119-year-old tradition honoring George Washington’s Birthday.
As part of the ceremony, two children from the U.S. side and two children from the Mexican side meet midway across the Lincoln-Juarez bridge and hug. A parade followed the official ceremony.
Secretary Johnson spoke about the importance of continued cooperation between the United States and Mexico to promote lawful trade and travel between our two nations.
“What is a bridge? ¿Que es un puente? It is a structure to connect two lands. It is a structure to enable people and things to cross from one land to the other. It is a structure that enables commerce, relationships and friendships. It enables the people of one land to know the other. Build bridges and we build friendships. This bridge and this ceremony are both a real and symbolic sign of the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and the people of Mexico.”
“We are building more bridges between the United States and Mexico. We are building bigger, wider and stronger bridges… the ceremony that occurs on this spot very year, is the symbolic and real nature of our relationship, our friendship, and our respect for each other.”