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US cyber security agencies get $9bn in Biden plan

New funding proposals come as US government reels from the impact of the December 2020 SolarWinds attack

President-elect Joe Biden has proposed a $9bn (£6.6bn) funding injection to shore up the US’s cyber security capabilities, enhancing the work of the country’s Cyber Security and Information Security Agency (CISA), alongside a wider security upgrade across the federal government.

The package, details of which can be found here, forms part of the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9tn relief package unveiled on 14 January, which also provides for Covid-19 relief, among other things. The US is the world’s worst-affected country in the pandemic, with close to 400,000 deaths at the time of writing.

“In addition to the Covid-19 crisis, we also face a crisis when it comes to the nation’s cyber security,” says the plan. “The recent cyber security breaches of federal government data systems underscore the importance and urgency of strengthening US cyber security capabilities.

“President-elect Biden is calling on Congress to launch the most ambitious effort ever to modernise and secure federal IT and networks.”

The proposals are designed to help remediate the impact of the December 2020 SolarWinds Solorigate/Sunburst breach – a long-running cyber espionage campaign probably conducted at Moscow’s behest, which has impacted multiple agencies of the federal government, as well as tech companies – as well as to bolster the US’s defences around the Covid-19 vaccine process, which has itself attracted the attention of malicious actors.

The initial $9bn investment will help the CISA and the General Services Administration (GSA) launch a number of new IT and cyber security shared services, as well as complete cyber security upgrades at other federal agencies.

Also, Biden is proposing to invest a total of $300m to build new secure technology programmes at the GSA, $200m to surge the recruitment of new cyber security technology and engineering expertise, and $690m to improve security monitoring and incident response across the government.

Meanwhile, the Biden team has formally named Anne Neuberger as deputy national security adviser for cyber security – as previously reported – alongside a number of other national security appointments.

“These dedicated public servants will be integral in keeping the American people safe and building capacity to prepare for, and respond to, the full spectrum of threats we face – from cyber intrusions to grid attacks, from possible future pandemics to deliberate acts of terror,” said Biden.

“They will strengthen our resilience to natural disasters, and work with our allies and friends to ensure the cyber rules of the road are made by democracies.”

Read more about Joe Biden’s IT agenda

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