A catastrophic attack on the U.S. could be looming, but its casualties are more likely to be infrastructures than people, the Department of Homeland Security warns.
The DHS announced on Tuesday plans to create a new risk management center that will work to protect the nation’s infrastructure from crippling cyberattacks by collaborating with critical industries to identify key threats.
At a cyber summit in New York City teasing its launch, Kirstjen Nielsen, head of the DHS, stressed the necessity of the cyber hub. In a room filled with dozens of high-profile chief executives and politicians, including Vice President Mike Pence, Nielsen urged for a new information-sharing partnership between private-sector companies and the government in the interest of mitigating the nation’s cyber risk, according to CNBC.
“We are in a crisis mode,” she said. “A category 5 hurricane has been forecast and we must prepare.”
The Trump administration has come under fire for not treating cyberattacks seriously enough, particularly when it comes to those brought by Russia. Speaking at the summit, Nielsen made a stark effort to distance herself from that criticism in her firm acknowledgment of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Let me be clear: Our intelligence community had it right,” said Nielsen. “It was the Russians. It was directed from the highest levels. And we cannot and will not allow it to happen again.”
The center will be operational by Wednesday at the Department’s D.C. location and will be staffed by existing DHS employees.