Anne Neuberger, currently the cyber-security director at the National Security Agency (NSA), has been appointed to fill a newly created cyber-security position on President-elect Joe Biden’s National Security Council.
Neuberger has been with the NSA for more than a decade, assuming her current role in May 2019. Her previous responsibilities at the agency include election security, enterprise operations, and risk management, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also served as a special advisor to the Secretary of the Navy before she joined the NSA.
The new position represents a renewed emphasis on cyber-security for the Biden administration, a focus that has been largely absent during the last four years under President Donald Trump. Biden said addressing cyber-security threats are among the most important tasks for his incoming administration.
“In an age when so much of our lives are conducted online, cyber-attacks must be treated as a serious threat by our leadership at the highest levels,” he said in a Dec. 22 speech in Wilmington, Del.
Biden has been particularly outspoken about the damage caused by the recent SolarWinds hack, which the U.S. government says was perpetrated by Russian agents. Discovered by a private cyber-security company—not the government—the hack compromised sensitive data of numerous government agencies, including the Departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury, Commerce, and Energy; as well as the National Nuclear Security Administration and the National Institutes of Health. The hack also breached several multinational companies.
It may have been going on for a month, or even several months, before it was discovered.
Trump has consistently downplayed the severity of the cyber-attack and hinted the perpetrator was perhaps China, not Russia.
In 2018, Trump eliminated the position of cyber-security coordinator. In 2020, he fired Christopher Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within the Department of Homeland Security, because Krebs contradicted Trump’s false claims the election he lost to Biden was rife with fraud.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Jan. 13 to reflect the announcement of Neuberger’s appointment.