Cyberwarfare / Nation-State Attacks , Fraud Management & Cybercrime

CISA's Kiersten Todt on Heading Off Russia-Ukraine Fallout

Chief of Staff Explains Heavy Focus on Protecting Energy and Financial Sectors
Kiersten Todt, chief of staff, CISA

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has worked closely with the energy and financial sectors in recent months to prevent cyber fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war.

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CISA Chief of Staff Kiersten Todt says lifeline sectors such as energy and finance are vital to the survival of American society and therefore need to be a focal point for information sharing and heightened security postures. Todt says preparations for a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine began in November, emphasizing real-time information sharing between public and private sector organizations (see: The Critical Role of Private-Public Cyber Collaboration).

"Government doesn't need to be on all the private-sector networks. No one wants that," Todt says. "But if industry can share what it's seeing with government so we can marry all the information, we have a much more comprehensive and integrated threat picture. We're never going to know all the details. But the more we can fill out the puzzle, the more effective we're going to be in how we're responding."

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group, Todt also discusses:

  • The unique cyber defense challenges of the Russia-Ukraine war;
  • Obstacles to information sharing between government and industry;
  • Major challenges related to workforce recruitment and retention.

Todt is responsible for the planning, allocation of resources and development of long-range objectives in support of CISA's goals and milestones, and she provides strategic vision, guidance and direction to ensure CISA's director is prepared to interdict or respond to threats to the homeland. Prior to her role at CISA, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, Todt served as the managing director of the Cyber Readiness Institute, a nonprofit initiative.

About the Author

Michael Novinson

Michael Novinson

Managing Editor, Business, ISMG

Novinson is responsible for covering the vendor and technology landscape. Prior to joining ISMG, he spent four and a half years covering all the major cybersecurity vendors at CRN, with a focus on their programs and offerings for IT service providers. He was recognized for his breaking news coverage of the August 2019 coordinated ransomware attack against local governments in Texas as well as for his continued reporting around the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 and early 2021.

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