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CISA panel wants national cyber security alert system

September 15 – According to a panel that advises the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the U.S. need a national cyber security alert system that would provide actionable insights into threats and risks.

Without providing details around the development of such a system or how it would operate, the panel noted that “there is a genuine need for a national cyber security alert system that routinizes the 24/7 consideration and provisioning of cyber alerts.”

National alert system

In March, the Cybersecurity Advisory Committee (CSAC), led by former National Cyber Director Chris Inglis, established a subcommittee to explore the prospect of a National Cybersecurity Alert System. On Wednesday, the panel released findings at a virtual CSAC meeting.

It’s worth noting that CISA already provides alerts, advisories and bulletins pertaining to specific threats. However, these do not offer in-depth insights into specific threats nor do they provide a broader overview of what’s happening at the national scale.

The current smattering of reports are “not authoritative, not necessarily coherent and they’re not curated in some singular fashion over time,” said Inglis.

Panel recommendations

As part of the research process, the panel spoke with cyber security officials in Israel and Canada, as well as those within several U.S. agencies.

According to experts, this may be the ideal moment during which to establish a national alert system, as CISA is currently in the process of reconfiguring information and reporting methodologies for the critical infrastructure sector.

New incident reporting rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may also serve as a backdrop for the alert system.

Further information 

Subcommittee members believe that the alert system should be presented with the principles of zero trust in mind. In short, certain alerts would not be made public and would only be distributed to those who needed them.

Inglis has reinforced the importance of creating truly “actionable” alerts, saying that the term actionable needs to be “atomically bound” to the idea of alerts, avoiding a situation where the government produces a color warning system that can be easily overlooked.

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