Critical Infrastructure Security , Cybercrime , Electronic Healthcare Records

MITRE Launches Centers to Protect Infrastructure and Health

Focus is on Critical Infrastructure Threats and Clinical Data
MITRE Launches Centers to Protect Infrastructure and Health
MITRE Steps Up Protection of Critical Infrastructure - Illustration, Hoover Dam Power Plant (Photo: Pixabay)

MITRE, the not-for-profit organization that works in the public interest across governmental and federal agencies, as well as various industrial verticals and academia, has set up two new organizations - The Cyber Infrastructure Protection Innovation Center - with a primary focus on cybersecurity threats to critical infrastructure, and The Clinical Insights Innovation Cell to protect healthcare.

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Both the organizations have been set up under MITRE Labs, which MITRE established in 2020 to drive breakthroughs in applied science and advanced technology.

“MITRE Labs has made significant progress to expand MITRE’s impact, inspire innovative disruption, accelerate risk-taking and discovery, and deliver technology capabilities,” says Charles Clancy, senior vice president and general manager of MITRE Labs. “These new groups will help us move faster, be bolder, and act as better partners for securing our nation’s critical infrastructure and leveraging clinical and genomic data to tackle the problems of infectious disease and the promise of precision medicine.”

Critical Infrastructure Security

The Cyber Infrastructure Protection Innovation Center has been established to close the innovation and technological gap between public and private sectors and protect critical infrastructure using MITRE’s deep understanding of operational technology and adversarial behavior the organization reports.

Critical infrastructure is defined by MITRE as including operational technology, industrial control systems and other cyber-physical systems (such as IT) that command and control these key systems.

Citing the recent Colonial Pipeline and Florida water treatment plant attacks, George Roelke, acting director of the Cyber Infrastructure Protection Innovation Center says, "Nation states and criminal groups are increasingly targeting the operators of our critical systems with potentially devastating cyberattacks." He adds: “As critical infrastructure is primarily in the hands of the private sector, our new Cyber Infrastructure Protection Innovation Center will work across industry and government to better understand cyber threats and identify practical steps to make their operations more secure.”

Aligning to Biden's Call

MITRE says its mission is to address the safety, regulatory and national security issues that will make US society more resilient.

These aims for the Cyber Infrastructure Protection Innovation Center are in-line with President Joe Biden’s July 28 executive national security memorandum calling for the development of new critical infrastructure cybersecurity standards for various industries (see: Biden Calls for Critical Infrastructure Security Standards).

At the time, also citing the attacks on Colonial Pipeline Co. and meat processor JBS, Biden stated, " We've seen how cyberthreats, including ransomware attacks, are increasingly able to cause damage and disruption to the real world. …If we end up in a war, a real shooting war with a major power, it's going to be as a consequence of a cyber breach of great consequence."

The national security memorandum also intends to establish the president's Industrial Control System Cybersecurity Initiative, a collaborative effort involving the federal government and private firms that oversee U.S. critical infrastructure to offer visibility and early warnings of threats and vulnerabilities associated with critical establishments.

Under this initiative, on Aug. 25, the Biden administration hosted a White House meeting that included several technology, banking, insurance and education executives to focus on cybersecurity and national security issues, primarily regarding protecting critical infrastructures from attacks (see: White House Tech Meeting: Focus on Critical Infrastructure). Attendees included American Water, ConocoPhillips, Duke Energy and PG&E.

On Oct. 1, while declaring October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the president called for heightened critical infrastructure security, noting that most of it is owned by the private sector (see: President Biden Touts Cybersecurity Efforts). "The security of our critical infrastructure depends on federal, state, local, tribal and territorial coordination with infrastructure owners and operators to achieve greater strength and security," the president said.

He also assured that his administration remains committed to hardening critical infrastructure, disrupting ransomware networks and promoting "clear rules of the road for all nations in the cyberspace."

This week the White House National Security Council kicked off an international counter-ransomware event comprising delegates from more than 30 nations. This gathering aims to improve global network resilience, address illicit cryptocurrency use, and elevate both law enforcement collaboration and diplomatic efforts.

The Clinical Insights Innovation Cell

The Clinical Insights Innovation Cell, like the Cyber Infrastructure Protection Center, has been set up by MITRE to bring together public and private sector leaders as it takes on critical healthcare challenges and delivers clinical and data science leadership, insight, and advanced artificial intelligence approaches, says MITRE.

Physicians, data scientists, and information engineers and statisticians, as well as experts in digital health, clinical research trials, and AI are included in the Clinical Insights Innovation Cell team whose goal is to fundamentally change how clinical trials are performed in the U.S., making the country’s health systems more responsive and resilient, says MITRE.


About the Author

Mihir Bagwe

Mihir Bagwe

Senior Correspondent, Global News Desk

Bagwe previously worked at CISO magazine, reporting the latest cybersecurity news and trends and interviewing cybersecurity subject matter experts.




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