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DHS Creates Cyber Safety Review Board

The United States Department of Homeland Security has established a Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) to investigate “significant cyber incidents.” 

Mandated via President Joe Biden’s May 12 2021 executive order (EO 14028) on improving the nation’s cybersecurity, the board “shall review and assess, with respect to significant cyber incidents […] affecting Federal Civilian Executive Branch Information Systems or non-Federal systems, threat activity, vulnerabilities, mitigation activities and agency responses.”

The CSRB, which was chartered on September 21 2021, will only operate in an advisory capacity.

Rob Silvers, the DHS’ undersecretary for strategy, policy and plans, has been selected to chair the board for two years. Together with Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Jen Easterly, Silvers will choose up to 20 individuals to serve as board members.

CSRB will be formed by a mixture of government workers and private sector representatives who may need to obtain security clearances. According to instructions included in Biden’s EO, the person chosen to serve as the board’s deputy chair should work in the private sector. 

Members will include at least one representative from the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, DHS, CISA, the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

notice published in the Federal Register Thursday stated: “The CSRB will convene following significant cyber-incidents that trigger the establishment of a Cyber Unified Coordination Group as provided by section V(B)(2) of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 41; at any time as directed by the President acting through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA); or at any time the Secretary or CISA Director deems necessary.”

After reviewing a cyber-incident, the CSRB “may develop advice, information, or recommendations for the Secretary for improving cybersecurity and incident response practices and policy.”

The notice said that CSRB’s advice on cybersecurity would be made publicly available “whenever possible” but that some information may be redacted to prevent the disclosure of sensitive data.

DHS secretary Alejandro Majorkas has exempted the board from the transparency rules of the Federal Advisory Committee Act “in recognition of the sensitive material utilized in CSRB activities and discussions.” 

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