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Fortifying Critical Infrastructure in the U.S.

In an era marked by escalating cyber threats, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is spearheading a pioneering initiative to fortify the resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Over the past few years, the frequency and impact of cyberattacks have surged, disrupting vital operations across various sectors. Notable incidents, such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, have underscored the vulnerability of critical infrastructure, prompting a proactive response from CISA.

Recognising the evolving threat landscape, CISA is thrilled to unveil a groundbreaking pilot programme tailored to provide cybersecurity shared services on a voluntary basis to entities within critical infrastructure sectors. The initiative comes in the wake of escalating cyber-physical attacks that have demonstrated the potential to disrupt essential functions and, in extreme cases, threaten human life.

Having served as a managed service provider for the federal civilian government, CISA is leveraging its experience and expertise to extend support to non-federal organisations grappling with cybersecurity risks. Empowered by a new congressional authority, CISA aims to deliver enterprise cybersecurity solutions that enhance the resilience of critical infrastructure and contribute to risk reduction, cost savings, and standardisation.

A vital component of this programme is deploying CISA’s Protective Domain Name System (DNS) Resolver to pilot participants. Formerly exclusive to federal civilian agencies, this proven and cost-effective solution utilises U.S. government and commercial threat intelligence to preemptively block systems from connecting to known or suspected domains. The success of CISA’s Protective DNS service is evident in its prevention of nearly 700 million connection attempts from federal agencies to malicious domains since 2022, effectively mitigating risks associated with common cyber threats like ransomware, phishing, and malicious redirects.

By expanding the accessibility of its highly scalable Protective DNS service, CISA is extending critical cybersecurity protections to “Target Rich, Resource Poor” entities within the critical infrastructure landscape. This strategic move aims to provide essential safeguards that have proven instrumental in reducing enterprise risk across federal government agencies.

The ongoing pilot programme involves the identification of critical infrastructure entities interested in adopting CISA-provided commercial shared services. This phase serves to stress-test service delivery mechanisms, demonstrate the scalability of cybersecurity services, and establish CISA’s ability to efficiently acquire, deploy, and operate these services on a large scale. As part of its ‘Target Rich, Resource Poor’ strategy, CISA is collaborating with entities in healthcare, water, and K-12 education sectors during the initial phase, with plans to extend services to up to 100 entities by the end of the year.

In addition to technical deployment, CISA is fostering engagement through roundtables and information sessions with critical infrastructure partners across all sectors and regions. This proactive approach aims to comprehensively understand their unique needs, challenges, and existing capabilities, allowing CISA to tailor its shared services effectively. The insights garnered from these discussions, combined with the results of the Protective DNS pilot, will guide efforts to enhance support for the nation’s critical infrastructure organisations.

As the designated Cyber Defence Agency for the United States, CISA believes that delivering cost-effective, scalable, and innovative cybersecurity solutions to critical infrastructure entities is crucial to fulfilling its national cyber mission. The dynamic nature of the cyber threat environment underscores the urgency of collective cyber defence, and CISA stands ready to meet the evolving challenges, supporting entities in safeguarding the digital backbone of the nation.


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