In today’s ever-changing digital landscape, the ability for agencies to work together proactively and collaboratively is critical for keeping the public safe. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a joint cybersecurity advisory on cyber threats targeting water facilities.
This advisory highlights the importance of public-private partnerships in adequately protecting our country and its citizens from cyber threats. This introduction will further explore what this important advisory entails, and why it is a step in the right direction for education and collaboration across agencies.
Definition of public-private partnerships
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are collaborations between public and private sectors to enhance the provision of a service or a range of services. The public and private components work together in the public interest, usually with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The public sector generally retains overall management control, but will often delegate certain tasks to the private sector partner to share the burden of costs, risks and responsibilities.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have come together to issue a joint cybersecurity advisory on cyber threats targeting water facilities. This is an example of how PPPs can be used to share information on digital threats so both public and private entities can remain secure. Additionally, PPPs enable both parties to access expertise mutually beneficial for identifying, analyzing, diagnosing, addressing and mitigating serious cyber threats that target the U.S’ critical infrastructures, including water facilities. Such partnerships allow each party involved to bring valuable quality knowledge that enables them to detect suspicious activity on networks connected with these important infrastructures to determine if any attack or interruption is occurring or if it has already taken place so thorough strategies are employed quickly as possible when needed.
The importance of public-private partnerships in cybersecurity
The FBI, NSA, CISA and EPA recently issued a joint cybersecurity advisory on cyber threats targeting water facilities. This advisory underscores the importance of public-private partnerships in ensuring the security of our nation’s water infrastructure against cyber threats.
In this article, we’ll discuss why public-private partnerships are essential to cybersecurity and some examples of successful public-private partnerships.
Benefits of public-private partnerships in cybersecurity
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) in cybersecurity can benefit the public and private sector significantly. By leveraging the expertise and resources of different stakeholders, PPPs create a unified approach to addressing cyber threats. This collaborative effort enhances security across all sectors, strengthening defenses against malicious actors.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA) and Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a joint cybersecurity advisory warning about cyber threats targeting water facilities. This type of collaboration between the government and private sector is a great example of how PPPs can provide key insights into emerging threats or potential scenarios that either party could otherwise overlook.
By bringing together different perspectives and expertise, public-private partnerships can provide holistic solutions to tackle some of the most challenging security issues facing organizations today. PPPs allow members from both public and private entities to work together in an open atmosphere where diverse ideas lead to more innovative approaches which could better protect against threats like data breaches, sophisticated phishing campaigns or ransomware attacks. Sharing information between government agencies and industry also leads to continuous improvement as attacks become more sophisticated and persistent across multiple industries & sectors.
In addition to providing enhanced visibility into potential threats, public-private partnerships in cybersecurity also enable greater access to specialized tools like vulnerability assessments, malware analysis, threat intelligence gathering & sharing capabilities – all necessary functions required to secure modern networks effectively while maintaining operational efficiency & overall risk profile of an organization’s digital infrastructure.
Examples of public-private partnerships in cybersecurity
Public-private partnerships can be an effective tool for addressing the global challenges of cyber threats. With the ever-increasing sophistication of malicious hackers, businesses and government agencies must work together to protect their data. Public-private partnerships provide an important avenue for efficiently exchanging information and ideas and leveraging their respective strengths and resources to help defend against cyber adversaries.
The FBI, NSA, CISA, and EPA recently issued a joint cybersecurity advisory to warn water facilities about cyber threats targeting their control systems. This advisory was developed using a public-private partnership between these organizations to share industry best practices on cybersecurity measures essential for protecting critical infrastructure.
Other examples of successful public-private partnerships in cybersecurity include the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which allows companies to voluntarily share information about potential threats with one another and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This type of partnership enables better understanding of the evolving threat landscape, enabling organizations to learn from one another’s experiences to take proactive measures in defending against advanced cyber threats.
Additionally, multiple government organizations collaborate with private sector entities through programs such as Project Shield and Hack the Pentagon to identify potential vulnerabilities before malicious actors can exploit them. These initiatives demonstrate how public-private partnerships open up opportunities for increased collaboration between industry leaders to develop comprehensive strategies for preventing cyberattacks from occurring in the first place.
FBI, NSA, CISA and EPA Issued Joint Cybersecurity Advisory on Cyber Threats Targeting Water Facilities
The FBI, NSA, CISA and EPA recently issued a joint cybersecurity advisory to provide information on cyber threats targeting water facilities in the United States. This advisory highlights the importance of public-private partnerships in addressing these threats and the need for increased awareness of cyber threats in the water sector.
In this article, we will discuss the specifics of the advisory, and explain how public-private partnerships can help protect critical infrastructure from cyber attacks.
Overview of the joint cybersecurity advisory
The FBI, NSA, CISA and EPA have released a joint advisory on cybersecurity risks targeting water and wastewater facilities. This advisory details best practices in responding to cyber-threats, highlights the importance of public-private partnerships in addressing risk, and encourages owners of these critical infrastructure systems to assess their existing security programs. This joint advisory aims to help protect these vital systems from malicious actors.
The joint advisory includes some key recommendations for water and wastewater facilities, such as:
- implementing cyber security planning that includes preventative measures;
- monitoring log data and event logs;
- participating in or inviting external assessments or penetration tests;
- developing incident response plans;
- patching vulnerable systems;
- increasing user awareness;
- encapsulating network traffic within the facility’s internal networks;
- taking steps to protect against unwanted remote access attempts;
- instituting internal controls around assets containing sensitive information (e.g., passwords);
- using intrusion detection tools, intrusion prevention tools and/or honeypots for cloud assets used by organizations for storage and/or processing of data associated with water/wastewater operations/information systems (e.g., SCADA);
- utilizing geofencing when possible;
- restricting personnel rights related to mission critical system admin accounts agreement on an incident plan between parties (e.g., environmental protection agencies);
- prompt notification of law enforcement entities when incidents are detected
- clearly communicate cyber security practices among the entire organization through education tactics—particularly those handling protected datasets or devices connected to mission critical networks.
The FBI, NSA, CISA and EPA will continue to monitor cyber threats targeting water facilities closely and suggest additional strategies as necessary. Agencies should identify vulnerabilities in their organizations’ computer networks to defend against potential adversaries wishing them harm. Additionally organizations should continue building strong public-private partnerships to work together more effectively to mitigate the threat posed by malicious actors against water-related infrastructure.
Recommendations for water facilities
In November 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a joint advisory alerting water and wastewater sector owners, operators, partner agencies and other stakeholders to the increasing complexity of cyber threats targeting water facilities.
The joint federal agencies recommend that all water sector organizations establish strong cybersecurity programs that include regular systems monitoring and assessments of their IT environment; effective configuration management; ongoing vulnerability scanning; patching tools; secure remote access solutions; network segmentation strategies; mitigation technologies including firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, system hardening guidelines and defensive measures designed to detect malicious activity or data exfiltration.
Organizations should also implement processes for reporting cybersecurity incidents to appropriate staff or law enforcement agencies as quickly as possible. In addition, the joint federal government agencies suggest that owners including drinking water suppliers work with their partners in developing a comprehensive emergency response plan involving communications guidance between stakeholders in the event of an incident.
Finally, they recommend that cyber incident response plans include provisions for maintaining physical/logical security, trade secrets protection measures and assurance requirements across any third-party contractors involved in cybersecurity efforts.
In conclusion, the joint cybersecurity advisory issued by the FBI, NSA, CISA and EPA is a testament to the importance of public-private partnerships in cybersecurity. The advisory provides a much-needed overview of water facilities’ threats and how to best protect against them. By relying on public and private sector expertise, organizations can ensure their systems are safe and secure.
Summary of the importance of public-private partnerships in cybersecurity
The recent joint cybersecurity advisory issued by the FBI, NSA, CISA and EPA on cyber threats targeting water facilities indicates how partnering between public and private entities positively impacts the prevention of cyberattacks. This type of partnership allows government agencies to collaborate with industry leaders in combating crime, increasing the efficiency and efficacy of security practices. Through sharing resources and information, public-private partnerships are essential to protect against data breaches, reduce attack surfaces and ensure comprehensive security measures. Such collaborations also provide unique insights into potential technical vulnerabilities that attackers may target, thereby improving both preventative measures and increasing responses.
Public-private partnerships also support innovation within cybersecurity practices, allowing for faster response, enhanced collaboration, and a greater diversity in approaches that may be more effective than a government-issued only solution. Furthermore, such collaborations benefit from economies of scale because they can leverage resources available across multiple sectors. Ultimately, effective public-private partnerships demonstrate how collaboration can produce robust strategies that keep data safe; ensure secure infrastructure; address cybercrime; prevent state sponsored attacks; protect critical services; manage threats between public and private entities; decrease potential risk exposures through shared intelligence; maintain open communication channels when responding to attacks or incidents.