Chapter 1 provided a high-level overview of the need for a national framework for protecting critical infrastructure. For some additional reading, take a look at the latest Presidential Order that relates to strengthening cybersecurity that relates to critical infrastructure: After reading chapter 1 and looking at the link above, you’re ready to participate in the first discussion. Let’s look at a real-world scenario and how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plays into it. In the scenario, the United States will be hit by a large-scale, coordinated cyber attack organized by China. These attacks debilitate the functioning of government agencies, parts of the critical infrastructure, and commercial ventures. The IT infrastructure of several agencies are paralyzed, the electric grid in most of the country is shut down, telephone traffic is seriously limited and satellite communications are down (limiting the Department of Defense’s [DOD’s] ability to communicate with commands overseas). International commerce and financial institutions are also severely hit. Please explain how DHS should handle this situation. You must do the following: 1) Create a new thread. As indicated above, 2) Select AT LEAST 3 other students’ threads and post substantive comments on those threads. Your comments should extend the conversation started with the thread.


In the given scenario, the United States is facing a large-scale, coordinated cyber attack organized by China, which is causing significant damage to government agencies, critical infrastructure, and commercial ventures. To effectively handle this situation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will need to employ a comprehensive approach, involving multiple strategies and coordination with various stakeholders. This response will outline the steps that DHS should take to mitigate and recover from the cyber attack.

1) Incident Response and Coordination:

DHS should take a lead role in coordinating the response to the cyber attack. They should activate their National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), which serves as a central hub for sharing information, providing incident response support, and coordinating with other federal agencies, private sector partners, and international entities. Through the NCCIC, DHS can facilitate the exchange of actionable intelligence and collaborate with stakeholders to develop a unified response plan.

DHS should establish a unified command structure, bringing together representatives from relevant agencies, such as the Department of Defense (DOD), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the private sector. This unified command structure will ensure effective communication, coordination, and efficient decision-making in the midst of the crisis. Additionally, DHS should leverage existing partnerships with international entities, such as Interpol and the Global Cyber Alliance, to share information and seek assistance in tracking down the perpetrators.

2) Critical Infrastructure Protection:

Given the scenario’s impact on critical infrastructure, DHS must prioritize the protection of essential services. They should activate their National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), which outlines a risk-based approach for securing critical infrastructure sectors. Through the NIPP, DHS can work with owners and operators of critical infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities, implement protective measures, and develop contingency plans.

In collaboration with the private sector, DHS should assess the damage to the electric grid and other critical infrastructure systems. They should coordinate with the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and industry partners to restore services and enhance resilience. This involves deploying incident response teams to affected sites, conducting forensic analyses to determine the source and extent of the cyber attack, and implementing necessary remediation measures.

Furthermore, DHS should engage with the private sector and use the authorities provided by the Presidential Executive Order to strengthen cybersecurity practices across critical infrastructure sectors. This includes promoting the adoption of best practices, conducting vulnerability assessments, and facilitating information sharing on emerging cyber threats.

3) International Cooperation and Diplomacy:

As the cyber attack in the scenario is organized by China, DHS should engage in diplomatic efforts to address this issue. They should communicate with the Chinese government through appropriate channels, expressing concern about the cyber attacks and seeking collaboration in investigating and prosecuting the responsible individuals or entities.

Additionally, DHS should work with international partners, such as the United Nations and other nations affected by the cyber attack, to establish norms, rules, and agreements for cyberspace. By fostering international cooperation, DHS can enhance collective security, deter future attacks, and promote responsible behavior in cyberspace.

In conclusion, the Department of Homeland Security should adopt a comprehensive approach to handle the scenario of a large-scale cyber attack organized by China. This involves incident response coordination, critical infrastructure protection efforts, and international cooperation and diplomacy. By effectively executing these strategies, DHS can mitigate the damage caused by the cyber attack and strengthen the nation’s resilience against future cyber threats.

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