This week, Hacking Healthcare™ examines the newly released National Cyber Strategy Implementation Plan. We break down what this document is, analyze and provide background on the specific initiatives most likely to impact the healthcare sector, and suggest opportunities to engage or influence them.

As a reminder, this is the public version of the Hacking Healthcare blog. For additional in-depth analysis and opinion, become a member of H-ISAC and receive the TLP Amber version of this blog (available in the Member Portal.)

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TLP WHITE - 7.19.2023 -- Hacking Healthcare™


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But first, as a reminder, next Tuesday is the Health-ISAC’s monthly threat briefing. Come join your fellow Health-ISAC members as Health-ISAC staff and partner organizations provide an overview of the threat landscape. Presentations include an assessment of emerging malware, APT trends, legal and regulatory issues, physical security concerns, and more. We encourage all Health-ISAC members to take advantage of this service.


National Cybersecurity Implementation Plan

On July 13, The United States’ National Cybersecurity Implementation Plan was publicly released.[i] This 57-page document outlines the roadmap that the U.S. government will pursue to accomplish the various objectives set out by National Cybersecurity Strategy released back in March of this year. Since critical infrastructure protection and the disruption of malicious cyber actors were a major part of the National Cyber Strategy, let’s examine some of the initiatives most relevant to healthcare and see how the U.S. government plans to achieve these goals.

As a brief reminder, the 39-page National Cybersecurity Strategy is based around the idea of achieving two significant shifts in the cybersecurity ecosystem. First, it pushed for those entities capable of doing more to bear a larger responsibility for security and resiliency. Second, it acknowledged the need to shift incentive structures towards investing in long-term resilience. Those two high-level objectives flowed down into five key pillars of interest that sets goals for the next decade of investment and cooperation in cyberspace.

The two pillars likely to be the most relevant for the healthcare sector are the need to defend critical infrastructure and the need to disrupt and dismantle malicious cyber threats. The operationalization of these pillars, outlined in the initial strategy, were described only in broad terms and they included notions around harmonizing regulations, improving and expanding public-private collaboration and information sharing, and cracking down on ransomware. However, the specifics around these actions, who would be responsible for them and when they might be expected to be done, were not specified. The newly released implementation plan goes some way towards fleshing those parts out.


Running a hefty 57-pages, the National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan is described by its authors as the roadmap for implementation of the various efforts described in the National Cybersecurity Strategy.

Readers should be aware that the document does not necessarily outline which initiatives are being more heavily resourced or prioritized, and even at 57-pages and detailing 65 initiatives, it does not fully capture all of the related governmental activities that ultimately are rooted in the strategy. Importantly, its authors note that that this implementation plan is only the first iteration of what will be a routinely updated living document.


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