US cyber agency CISA to open London office

The United States’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has announced the opening of an Attaché Office in London, its first outside of the US, to serve as a focal point for international collaboration with the UK government and other US federal officials.

Led by longstanding civil servant Julie Johnson, prior to now a regional protective security advisory for CISA in New York, the office will advance CISA’s core missions in cyber, the protection of critical national infrastructure (CNI), and emergency communications, in service of four international strategic goals: advancing operational cooperation; building partner capacity; strengthening collaboration through engagement and outreach; and influencing the global cyber policy ecosystem.

“As America’s cyber defence agency, we know that digital threat actors don’t operate neatly within borders,” said CISA director Jen Easterly. “To help build resilience against threats domestically, we must think globally.

“I’m thrilled for CISA’s first international Attaché Office to open in London – true operational collaboration is a global endeavour.”

Roughly equivalent to the UK’s own National Cyber Security Centre, CISA traces its history back to 2007, when its predecessor, the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), was formed as a component of the Department of Homeland Security with a remit to protect critical physical and cyber infrastructure.

It was formally stood up in November 2018 as a successor agency to the NPPD, under then-president Donald Trump’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act, and is empowered to assist both government bodies and private sector organisations.

Since its formation, CISA has led the US government’s response to multiple high-profile incidents, including cyber attacks on the likes of SolarWinds, Colonial Pipeline and Kaseya, and publishes frequent alerts and updates, as well as maintaining an up-to-date list of the most-commonly exploited vulnerabilities, alongside other forms of guidance for users.

It has also established itself as a frequent collaborator with the NCSC and other allied cyber agencies.

The agency also ultimately clashed with Trump himself, when its analysis of the 2020 US presidential election found no evidence of cyber intrusion by hostile governments, or voter fraud, contradicting his baseless claims in this regard. The incident saw its founding director Chris Krebs ousted.

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