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Government, Financial Industry Launch Cybersecurity Collaboration

Partnership aims to speed commercialization of technologies to protect critical government and private sector infrastructure.
Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
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Federal agencies have teamed up with the financial services industry to promote a common way for the public and private sector to coordinate on cybersecurity.

The effort is aimed at speeding the commercialization of technologies being developed to protect U.S. critical infrastructure so that both the federal government and private organizations can benefit from them, according to the White House.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the Department of Commerce, the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS/S&T), and the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council (FSSCC) released a memo Monday agreeing to pool their collective cybersecurity resources to facilitate innovation; identify and fight cybersecurity vulnerabilities; and develop more efficient and effective cybersecurity processes that can be used in the financial services sector as well as by other organizations.

The Obama administration has made cybersecurity a priority, and coordinating between the public and private sector is integral to work being done to mitigate threats to critical infrastructure.

However, agencies have struggled with the specifics of collaboration, and there have been tensions over information-sharing and plans for exactly how to work together. The new agreement is aimed at alleviating some of that by sealing a framework for collaboration, according to a White House blog post by U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra and cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt.

Officials said the agreement will accelerate the deployment of test cases for specific cybersecurity scenarios in the financial services sector. This will be done by ensuring there is cooperation between the public and private sector in the development of "innovative cybersecurity technologies and processes" and also by establishing clear processes for implementing specific use cases, according to the post.

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