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US To Create A New Bureau Of Cyberspace And Digital Policy To Combat Increasing Cyberattacks in the Country

President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (Photo: ABC News)

On Monday, in an email sent by the Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the Department’s workforce announced that the Biden administration plans to establish a new bureau of cyberspace and digital policy in an effort to combat the growing cyberattacks, specifically the rise of ransomware attacks in the U.S.

On Monday, in an email sent by the Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the Department’s workforce announced that the Biden administration plans to establish a new bureau of cyberspace and digital policy at the State Department in an effort to combat the growing cyberattacks, specifically the rise of ransomware attacks on the U.S. (Photo: CFR)

A New Bureau

In a press conference, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that a Senate-confirmed ambassador-at-large would lead the new bureau and that the bureau would focus on international cybersecurity, international digital policy, and digital freedom, as per Wall Street Journal. He also added that the department plans to appoint a new envoy for critical and emerging technology.

According to an article published in CNN, what made the department focused on this issue was when there were persistent attacks to private and public sectors of the U.S. There was a string of ransomware attacks in the country that was allegedly from Russian soil.

Americans have become reliant on modern technology, which means they have also become vulnerable to multiple cyberattacks such as social media fraud, corporate security breaches, and spear phishing. According to CISA or Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, complementary cybersecurity and law enforcement capabilities are critical in safeguarding and securing cyberspace.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken believes addressing cybersecurity stands as a key element to the country’s ability to compete with its adversaries. Here, he speaks during a press conference with transatlantic alliance NATO’s chief on April 14, 2021, at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/POOL/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES/ NEWSWEEK)

Hackers Hit Numerous Companies

A data from 2020 provided by IC3 or Internet Crime Complaint Center has shown that there were 792,000 cases of reported cybercrime complaints and there was an increase of 300,000 from the previous year, according to a published report in Newsweek

This year hackers have hit several major companies, including Colonial Pipeline that led to fuel supply shortages on the East Coast of the U.S., the JBS Holdings cyberattack, an Iowa-based agricultural company. According to The Star, just two weeks ago, the Treasury Department had noticed and suspected ransomware payments totaling $590 million and this was made just in the first six months of this year.

A former top State Department cybersecurity envoy, Christopher Painter, has welcomed the new bureau and commented that the U.S. is treating cyber as absolute national security and diplomatic priority.

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