Image: Maksym Kaharlytskyi

White House announces 100-day sprint on chemical sector cybersecurity

The Biden administration on Wednesday launched an effort to protect the country’s chemical sector from cyberattacks, the latest bid to shore up the nation’s critical infrastructure against digital assault.

The “Chemical Action Plan” will build on the “lessons learned and best practices of the previously launched action plans for the electric, pipeline, and water sectors to meet the needs for this sector,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

The latest 100-day sprint, led by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), will seek to encourage companies to share threat information with the federal government, the fact sheet states.

A CISA official told Axios that other steps would include creating a coordinating council made up of 15 chemical industry groups to garner feedback on how best to improve the sector’s digital defenses and motivate companies to install cyberattacks monitoring sensors.

Earlier in October, a senior White House official said the administration plans to focus on the water, communications and healthcare sectors in the coming months. Last week, CISA Director Jen Easterly said her organization would focus its attention on the digital security of the water sector, hospitals, and K-12 schools.

Today's announcement comes as CISA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are readying to unveil voluntary cybersecurity performance goals for critical infrastructure that will set the government’s expectations for private sector entities.

“Strengthening the resiliency of US critical infrastructure to protect the services Americans rely on is hallmark of our cybersecurity strategy,” Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the White House's National Security Council, tweeted.

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Martin Matishak

Martin Matishak

is the senior cybersecurity reporter for The Record. Prior to joining Recorded Future News in 2021, he spent more than five years at Politico, where he covered digital and national security developments across Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community. He previously was a reporter at The Hill, National Journal Group and Inside Washington Publishers.