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McAfee, NIST partner to boost U.S. cyberdefenses

The partnership aims to bring more security experts together to boost the nation's infrastructure against cybercrime.

Security firm McAfee is working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to try to shore up America's defenses against cyberthreats.

McAfee announced today that the company is now part of the the National Cybersecurity Excellence Partnership and will join cybersecurity professionals from both the private and public sector to tackle the escalating problem of computer-based threats.

The partnership is part of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, which is hosted by NIST in collaboration with the state of Maryland and Maryland's Montgomery County.

Launched in February 2012, the center has a particular slant toward sharing technology so better techniques can be developed to protect governmental networks, corporate systems, and public services. McAfee says that the majority of technological advances made through the scheme will be released to the public "to better secure the nation's critical infrastructure."

Tom Gann, vice president for government relations at McAfee, commented:

This is an excellent example of a public-private partnership that will produce dynamic results. The collaborative work of the National Cybersecurity Excellence Partnership will benefit important national initiatives such as e-health and e-learning along with improving the security of the nation's businesses.

The center aims to promote "seamless security" that can be used across a wide range of networks, and interoperability is a main factor in developing defenses against cybercriminals. Today, McAfee will sign a memorandum of understanding with NIST at the center.

The problem of cyberattacks is global and has the potential to not only impact businesses and governmental departments that fall afoul of hackers, but also can affect the political environment.

Following a series of accusations ranging from state-sponsored attacks to cyberattack campaigns aimed at breaching national security, the U.S. and China have recently agreed to form a working group centered on cybersecurity. Previously, President Obama said that cybercrime would be a "key" topic in talks with China, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said both nations must work toward build mutual trust.