The head of the National Protection and Programs Directorate has been urging Congress to change the office’s name to something that specifies what it does.
The new, preferred title, “Cyber and Infrastructure Protection Agency,” might provide employees with the clear sense of identity and mission that she told House lawmakers last October she wants.
But the rebranding also might telegraph that our digital lives and physical safety now are intertwined.
It’s a message directorate Undersecretary Suzanne Spaulding has been trying to communicate since long before a Dec. 23, 2015, cyberattack against Ukraine knocked out power for 225,000 customers for as many as 6 hours.
“I’ve been amazed on how little attention that’s gotten,” Spaulding said Wednesday afternoon at a New America Foundation cybersecurity summit.
She worried last April, during an event organized by Fordham Law School, that this would be the “year of the destructive attacks.”
Referencing a 2014 hack against a motion-picture firm the U.S. government has pinned on North Korea, Spaulding told the New York audience: “With the Sony incident, all of the attention was on the salacious emails and the theft of movies before they came out and far less attention was paid — for reasons I’m not clear on — on the destructive nature of that attack: that there was destructive malware deployed that destroyed computers and data irretrievably.”
Spaulding’s directorate encompasses agencies that responded to the Sony and the Ukraine cyberphysical attacks.
On March 7, her subordinates DHS Assistant Secretary Andy Ozment and Deputy Assistant Secretary Greg…