American federal cyber agency CISA opens first overseas office in London, as it expands work with allies and international partners
The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is to open its first ever overseas office in the UK, later this month.
CISA announced that its attaché office in London will “serve as a model as CISA matures its international mission to drive down cybersecurity risks.”
CISA of course works hand in glove with the UK’s cyber guardian, the National Cyber Security Centre, tackling online threats, and providing expertise and advice to businesses and government departments.
CISA was founded in the US back in November 2018, and is currently led by Jen Easterly, a veteran of the National Security Council and the military and intelligence communities.
Easterly was appointed after former President Trump fired former director Chris Krebs, after he publicly disagreed with Trump who falsely insisted there had been widespread voter fraud in the US Presidential election.
Now an attaché office will open in London, and will “serve as a focal point for international collaboration between CISA, UK government officials, and other federal agency officials.”
CISA said the attaché office will advance it’s missions in cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection, and emergency communications, and leverage the agency’s global network to promote CISA’s four international strategic goals:
- Advancing operational co-operation
- Building partner capacity
- Strengthening collaboration through stakeholder engagement and outreach
- Shaping the global policy ecosystem
“As America’s cyber defense 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,” said Easterly.
CISA’s first UK attaché is Julie Johnson, who previously served as a Regional Protective Security Advisor for CISA in New York, where she led research on microgrids, communications and the internet, and physical-cyber convergence.
Johnson also served as CISA’s regional lead for federal interagency working groups.
Prior to her tenure at CISA, Johnson worked at the US Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, where her work included citizen exchanges, Fulbright scholarships, IT center deployments, and international training.
An industry expert has welcomed the CISA decision to open an office in London, pointing out that the American cyber defence agency is hoping the move will help it work across borders, the same way in which threat actors work.
“We all know that cybercrime is a global issue; adversary groups and threat actors are not constrained by national borders,” said Ian McShane, VP of strategy at cybersecurity and cyber monitoring specialist Arctic Wolf. “So the CISA’s decision to open a London office is an important step to help collaboration and improve resource sharing between US and UK.”
“Strategic tasks like protecting critical infrastructure and tactical efforts such as stopping cybercriminals from liquidising ill-gotten cryptocurrency require not only hands-on skills but also a long-term commitment and long-term game plan,” noted McShane.
“Of course, you need 24/7, always-on cyber intelligence – and I don’t mean endless alerts for security team to troll through. But highly skilled experts to actively analyse and see the real threats behind the data,” said McShane. “The boost in collaboration between the US and UK, led by the CISA, will greatly improve the digital world that many businesses and citizens thrive on.”