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House Lawmakers Want CISA to Take Tougher Approach to Critical Infrastructure’s Cybersecurity; DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Quoted

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Alejandro Mayorkas
Alejandro Mayorkas Secretary DHS

House lawmakers have called on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to take a more robust approach to oversee the cybersecurity posture of critical infrastructure amid recent ransomware attacks, Federal News Network reported Thursday.

Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and a 2021 Wash100 Award winner, appeared before the House Homeland Security Committee Thursday and responded to a question by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., on whether he would consider allowing CISA to collaborate with the Transportation Security Administration on the issuance of cyber standards for all modes of transportation.

“We are looking at critical infrastructure across the board and how best we can use our administrative tools and our regulatory tools that are resident in different parts of the federal government to bring up a cohesive approach to an increased cyber hygiene,” Mayorkas said.

Mayorkas said CISA is taking a prudent approach to spending its increased budget. “We are extraordinarily busy,” he added.

Eric Goldstein, executive assistant director for cybersecurity at CISA, said the confirmation of Jen Easterly as CISA director and Chris Inglis as national cyber director would help the government further develop its processes for engaging with the private sector and that CISA is seeing a rise in companies reporting cyber incidents following the recent attacks into Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods.

“We are seeing organizations across the country recognize this risk and recognizing that CISA is a source of support and expertise,” Goldstein said. “We just need to make sure that that continues and that we reach again into every corner of the country going forward.” 

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