- President Joe Biden will reportedly nominate Rob Silvers as director of the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), replacing ousted former Director Chris Krebs, according to Reuters on Friday.
- Between 2013 and 2014, Silvers worked with Biden's nomination for Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas as senior counselor to the deputy secretary of DHS, according to his LinkedIn.
- Silvers served as the assistant secretary of homeland security for cyber policy within the Obama administration from 2016 to 2017. He is currently a partner at Paul Hastings, where he advises clients on cybersecurity, national security and internal investigations.
Krebs' November departure created a cascading leadership vacuum at CISA. Other top officials in the cybersecurity agency departed, including assistant director Bryan Ware. In the interim, former Executive Director of CISA Brandon Wales, became acting director.
Krebs is now serving as a third-party advisor to SolarWinds alongside security leader Alex Stamos in their newly launched consultancy firm Krebs Stamos Group.
CISA plays a unique role in government, serving as a liaison between private industry and federal leadership. The SolarWinds hack has tested CISA's efficacy among private companies because of data requests of technical details from DHS. The agency denied the request as it might have included companies' confidential data concerning the cyberattack.
A new director won't necessarily change how private industry works with CISA, but a change in policies and procedures might disrupt things, Jerry Ray, COO of SecureAge, told Cybersecurity Dive in an email. "Right now, tech companies should not only be relieved, but also optimistic about what the Biden administration will offer" in terms of cybersecurity.
A new director is unlikely to interrupt the large-scale investigation of the SolarWinds hack, said Ray. The compromise is no longer limited to SolarWinds customers as other tech companies have found related intrusions and activity in their systems.
Biden is relying on the intelligence community to assess the incident, said Press Secretary Jen Psaki during the first press briefing in the White House on Wednesday. "Even as we work with Russia to advance U.S. interests, so too we work to hold Russia to account for its reckless and adversarial actions," Psaki said.
Biden has already asked Congress to consider a $9 billion investment for the Technology Modernization Fund, partially dedicated to CISA and the General Services Administration (GSA) shared services initiative and another $690 million entirely for CISA.
The administration is expected to "stake its early reputation on issues such as cybersecurity, and the newly appointed CISA director will have to champion that," said Ray. The SolarWinds incident, and all other compromises still unfolding, reinforces the need for cross-sector collaboration.
"Both sides need each other, particularly when the motives behind cyberattacks, financial or political, leverage the same technologies and pathways," said Ray.