At a time when ransomware and other types of cyberattacks are on the rise, a former NSA and White House official has been appointed to lead the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
According to Politico, the Senate has named Jen Easterly as the second person to lead the DHS agency. CISA provides government networks with cybersecurity tools and incident response services, as well as security advice to infrastructure operators and businesses.
Politico previously reported that CISA has struggled to deal with one cybercrisis after another, and that the agency is understaffed and overworked.
It had to deal with multiple intrusions in the midst of the pandemic as bad actors used ransomware to attack the healthcare industry, forcing them to pay to avoid delays that could cost lives.
CISA was also called upon to respond to the massive SolarWinds hack, which the government blames on Russia, as well as ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline, software giant Kaseya, and meat supplier JBS.
Easterly is now responsible for ensuring CISA gains the ability to counter new threats as they emerge, in addition to leading response efforts to ongoing cyberattacks.
Easterly served as the NSA’s counterterrorism division’s number two official for many years before being named the new CISA director.
He was also the National Security Council’s senior director for counterterrorism under former President Barack Obama.