Homeland Security Department Releases Guidance on Cyber Info-Sharing

February 16, 2016

On Tuesday, February 16, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its initial guidance on the implementation of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015.  The legislation, which passed Congress and was signed into law in December of 2015, seeks to encourage the private sector and federal entities to share cyber threat indicators with the federal government by providing liability protections for the sharing of such information.  Final policies, procedures, and guidance documents are due in June 2016.


“These guidelines provide federal agencies and the private sector with a clear understanding of how to share cyber threat indicators with DHS’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, or “NCCIC,” and how the NCCIC will share and use that information,” DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a news release.


“We know many cyber intrusions can be prevented if we share cyber threat indicators. These can include, for example, the subject line of a spear phishing email, or the IP address of the computer from which it originated.  Sharing this kind of information in real-time, and swiftly applying defensive measures, will allow both the government and private sector to more effectively prevent attacks,” said Secretary Johnson.


In addition to this guidance, DHS also released interim policies and procedures relating to the receipt and use of cyber threat indicators by federal entities, guidelines relating to privacy and civil liberties in connection with the exchange of those indicators, and guidance to federal agencies on sharing information in the government’s possession.