Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has made cybersecurity a top priority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in alignment with the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities. On September 27-28, 2023, DHS hosted the first Western Hemisphere Cyber Conference, which convened foreign government cyber leaders to discuss cybersecurity challenges and identify areas of collaboration.
All participants affirmed the value of building on past cooperation and committed to continuing to work together to promote our shared values and interests. In this spirit, DHS completed a variety of activities with attendees in advance of the conference, and has committed to a wide range of future trainings, exchanges, and other engagements:
Cyber Resilience & Security
- In advance of the conference, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) hosted a series of Industrial Control Systems trainings at the intermediate and advanced level to more than 10 partner countries across the region.
- CISA additionally completed activities in support of the Trilateral Critical Infrastructure Exchange with Canada and Mexico, deployed a subject matter expert to serve as an Embassy Science Fellow at the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, and provided vulnerability scanning assistance to select partner nations.
- Following the conference, CISA will continue to work collaboratively with Western Hemisphere partners on a variety of topics, such as expert exchanges on CISA’s establishment and partnership model, CISA’s role in the National Cyber Incident Response Plan, CISA’s public-private partnership operational efforts, as well as key initiatives like 5G security and supply chain security.
Transportation & Maritime Cybersecurity
- Prior to the conference, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) assessed cybersecurity standards at various foreign partner airports, in nations such as Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, and Uruguay.
- The United States Coast Guard (USCG) additionally hosted a delegation from the Mexican Naval Secretariat (SEMAR) and discussed plans for a long-term joint plan for cybersecurity.
- Following the conference, TSA will conduct a series of trainings and workshops on cyber-related topics, including a table-top exercise on transportation cybersecurity with the Bahamas and Chile.
- USCG will conduct technical assessments of port and maritime cybersecurity standards with partner nations, such as Panama, Peru, and Chile.
- In advance of the conference, the United States Secret Service (USSS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) provided several trainings to Western Hemisphere nations, such as Argentina, the Bahamas, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay. Topics included network intrusion, cyber law enforcement, computer evidence recovery, and the criminal use of cryptocurrency.
- Earlier this year, HSI formalized the deployment of a cyber liaison at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and is currently evaluating the placement of another cyber liaison.
- Following the conference, USSS and HSI will continue to provide a variety of trainings, with additional training on international computer hacking, intellectual property theft, and the dark web and cryptocurrency.
Cyber Policy & Emerging Technologies
- Prior to the conference, DHS facilitated information exchanges on cyber regulatory approaches, incident reporting harmonization, and the National Cybersecurity Strategy with countries such as Canada, Colombia, and Mexico.
- Following the conference, DHS plans to conduct further exchanges on relevant cyber topics.