July 31, 2018 / 8:39 PM / 20 days ago

U.S. govt seeks to boost collaboration with industry on hacks

NEW YORK, July 31 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday said it will bolster collaboration with the private sector to defend the nation against cyber attacks by working more closely with industry to combat emerging threats.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen unveiled plans to set up a national risk management center where the government will initially work with financial firms, energy companies and telecommunications providers to help identify industry security weaknesses, develop response plans and run cyber drills.

“We are facing an urgent evolving crisis in cyberspace,” she told a summit of government officials, industry leaders, academics and security experts at a DHS cyber summit in New York. “Our digital lives are now in danger every single day.”

The effort marks the latest in a long series of government plans to combat cyber threats.

She unveiled the plan on Tuesday shortly before Facebook Inc disclosed that it had taken down dozens of fake accounts after identifying a new coordinated political influence campaign to mislead users and organize rallies ahead of November’s U.S. congressional elections.

She said the U.S. government knew that Russia was responsible for meddling in the 2016 presidential election, that the campaign was ordered from “the highest levels” and that the United States would not allow it to happen again.

“Mark my words, America will not tolerate this meddling,” she said at the daylong meeting.

Executives from companies including AT&T Inc, Mastercard and Southern Co also addressed the gathering, sharing strategies for gaining ground against cyber criminals and hackers working on behalf of nations including China, Iran, North Korea and Russia that the U.S. government charges have carried out a string of digital attacks on the United States in recent years. (Reporting by Jim Finkle and Chris Bing in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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