White House creates new agency to fight cyberattacks

SAN FRANCISCO – The White House on Tuesday announced the opening of a new agency focused on cybersecurity.

The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, or CTIIC, will be focused on compiling data across several agencies to allow information about potential threats to be shared more broadly across official divisions.

The CTIIC launch comes amid news that the Twitter account of Newsweek was hacked by ISIL supporters who used the platform to tweet threats to President Barack Obama and his family before Twitter’s support team was able to regain control of the news outlet’s account.

Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, who announced the agency's creation, said cyberattacks on national and economic interests are rising in sophistication, scale and severity of impact. She called the November attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment “a game changer.”

That attack crippled the film studio for weeks and hackers leaked embarrassing emails and unreleased films on the internet. Federal authorities claim the North Korean government was behind the attack, showcasing many of this era’s large-scale attacks are not the work of individuals typing away in their parents’ basements, but are actually state-funded.

Since the attack on Sony, several high-profile attacks have occurred, including pro-ISIS hackers taking over the Twitter account of the United States Central Command in January and a massive breach at health insurance provider Anthem earlier this month.

Monaco said CTIIC will not actually collect intelligence. Instead, it will analyze threat data collected by other federal agencies.

The CTIIC will be modeled after the National Counterterrorism Center, which launched soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks following criticism of federal agencies for not sharing intelligence amongst different divisions – an action that may have foiled the attack.

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