NSA to establish a defense-minded division named the Cybersecurity Directorate

The NSA's new Cybersecurity Directorate to become operational in October.

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NSA is a core member of the Vulnerabilities Equities Process board. (Image: file photo)

The National Security Agency announced today plans to establish a new defense-minded cyber-security division that will focus on defending the US against foreign cyber-threats.

This new division, which will be named the Cybersecurity Directorate, will become operational on October 1, later this year.

Anne Neuberger will be the division's first Director of Cybersecurity. She will report directly to General Paul Nakasone, the NSA's Director.

Neuberger previous positions included NSA Chief Risk Officer; Deputy Director of Operations; and Lead of NSA's Russia Small Group.

The Russia Small Group was a joint collaboration between the NSA and US Cyber Command to counteract Russian interference during the 2018 US midterm elections.

New agency has a focus on defense

Previously, the NSA has been known for its efforts on developing and improving the US' offensive cyber-security arsenal. According to the NSA, the new Cybersecurity Directorate's role will be to improve the US' cyber-security posture at home.

"This new approach to cybersecurity will better position NSA to collaborate with key partners across the U.S. government like U.S. Cyber Command, Department of Homeland Security, and Federal Bureau of Investigation," the NSA said today.

"It will also enable us to better share information with our customers so they are equipped to defend against malicious cyber activity."

And the NSA appears to be taking a page out of US Cyber Command's book. The agency has had a lot of success opening up and sharing information with the private sector in the past months. US Cyber Command started sharing malware samples on Twitter and VirusTotal last November.

Those alerts have helped the private sector boost detection capabilities for ongoing attacks from foreign threats against US entities. Just last month, a US Cyber Command alert prompted companies to take note of a wave of attacks perpetrated by Iranian hackers and leveraging Outlook vulnerabilities.

A big job for the new Cybersecurity Directorate will be intelligence sharing and vulnerability assessment, a job the DHS has already been doing for years. How the two agencies will interact and collaborate remains to be seen as more details about the NSA's new initiative surface.

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