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DHS Connects Government, Private Sector in New Cyber Safety Review Board

Long-awaited public-private initiative established to evaluate nation’s cybersecurity and improve resilience

Several government and private sector organizations in the United States have joined forces for the Department of Homeland Security’s first ever Cyber Safety Review Board, whose goal is to boost the nation’s cybersecurity.

The DHS’s Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) has been established as instructed by the executive order signed by President Joe Biden in May 2021 to improve cyber defenses.

That executive order represents the foundation for several cybersecurity initiatives, including two that were announced last month: a memorandum focused on boosting the cybersecurity of National Security Systems, and a federal zero trust strategy.

The DHS announced the launch of the CSBR roughly a week after lawmakers expressed concern that the board had still not been created eight months after the executive order was signed.

The CSRB has been tasked with reviewing and assessing major cybersecurity events in an effort to help the government, industry and security community better protect the country's networks and infrastructure. The board will also “deliver strategic recommendations to the President and the Secretary of Homeland Security.”

The initial plan was for the board to investigate the SolarWinds hack. However, the DHS revealed that it will first review the recently disclosed Log4j vulnerabilities, which have been exploited by profit-driven cybercriminals and state-sponsored threat actors. The first report is expected to be completed this summer and, in addition to a review and assessment, it will contain recommendations for improving security and incident response based on lessons learned from this incident.

A public version of the report is expected to be made available, as well as other advice, information, and recommendations from the board, but the information that is made public may be redacted to protect sensitive information, the DHS said.

Robert Silvers, under secretary for policy at the DHS, will serve as chair of the board and Heather Adkins, senior director for security engineering at Google, will serve as deputy chair.

Other members include representatives of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Office of Management and Budget, Office of the National Cyber Director, National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Center for Internet Security, Luta Security, CrowdStrike, Microsoft, Verizon, and Palo Alto Networks.

“The CSRB does not have regulatory powers and is not an enforcement authority,” the DHS noted.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.