DHS chief lays out actions to boost cybersecurity after major hacks

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday issued a “call for action” to confront mounting cybersecurity threats to the federal government, laying out a plan to combat hacking efforts following two major foreign cyberattacks.

Mayorkas warned during a virtual speech hosted by RSA that “cyber threats are coming dangerously close to threatening our lives” and detailed plans for focusing on issues including debilitating ransomware attacks, bolstering the cyber workforce and securing critical infrastructure against attacks.

“The government does not have the capacity to achieve our nation’s cyber resilience alone,” Mayorkas said. “So much of our critical infrastructure is in the private sector’s hands. We need to work with the private sector to protect the interests of the American people and the services on which we rely.”

Mayorkas’s comments come as the federal government continues to respond to two major cyber espionage incidents carried out by foreign entities that were discovered over the past three months, and as the Biden administration works to roll out an executive order to strengthen federal cybersecurity after both incidents.

The secretary said Wednesday that the order would include “nearly a dozen actions” and that “more details would be shared soon.”