HHS rebrands cybersecurity center after more than a year of turmoil

Eric Hargan, deputy secretary of HHS, unveiled the Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center Oct. 29 as part of October's National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

The center, abbreviated HC3, is a rebranding of the agency's Healthcare Cybersecurity and Communications Center, according to the Politico Morning eHealth newsletter.

HHS originally planned to launch the Healthcare Cybersecurity and Communications Center in June 2017, but delayed its work amid an investigation by the HHS Office of Inspector General. The center was meant to serve as a collaborative information sharing and analysis center based off the Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

HHS made no mention of HC3's connection to the Healthcare Cybersecurity and Communications Center in its announcement, but noted its launch followed "extensive stakeholder consultation" with partners who are "working together to defend the health sector's information technology infrastructure."

Homeland Security will lead HC3's work to develop preventive strategies to combat cyberthreats across the healthcare and public health sectors, while HHS will focus on creating a "coordination center" within the program to facilitate information sharing within related industries.

"We know that the majority of the cybersecurity attacks that occurred over the past year could have been prevented with quality and timely information," said Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at Homeland Security. "We believe that when a risk is shared across sectors, the only way to manage that risk successfully is to manage it collectively."

In an Oct. 4 letter to the HELP and Energy and Commerce committees' leadership, HHS pledged to provide a report detailing updates and best practices for its digital defense strategy by the end of the year, according to Politico.

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