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US to form new agency to coordinate efforts tackling cyberthreats

The new Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will be able to gather intelligence across multiple sectors of government during a crisis, reports The Washington Post.

President Barack Obama in December blamed North Korea for the Sony hack, one of many attacks targeting US businesses. A new agency, set to be announced Tuesday, will oversee the sharing of intelligence on cyberthreats. Getty Images

Cyberterrorism now has the level of attention within the Obama administration as its real-world counterpart.

The US government is set to announce Tuesday the creation of a new agency, called the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, that will focus on combating virtual threats like massive hacking operations and attacks on US infrastructure, according to a report from The Washington Post.

The agency will be modeled after the National Terrorism Center, which was developed following the September 11, 2001 attacks as a means to fuse together intelligence from multiple departments, long thought to be a critical shortcoming. With the new agency, the government will now be able to gather and share information on cyberthreats across the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, among other agencies.

"The cyberthreat is one of the greatest threats we face, and policymakers and operators will benefit from having a rapid source of intelligence," Lisa Monaco, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, told The Washington Post. "It will help ensure that we have the same integrated, all-tools approach to the cyberthreat that we have developed to combat terrorism." Monaco is expected to announce the center later today.

Cyberattacks against US businesses and organizations have become an almost everyday occurrence, forcing the Obama administration to grapple with the best way to deal with massive data leaks and thefts. Following his remarks on security in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama is asking for $14 billion in the 2016 budget proposal to beef up US efforts against such attacks.

Just last fall, Sony Pictures Entertainment suffered a crippling hack that exposed its internal secrets and even unreleased movies. Last week, health care firm Anthem said hackers had breached a database containing the records of 80 million current and former customers and employees, including their Social Security numbers and email addresses.

The Obama administration is citing the Sony hack specifically as the impetus for the new agency, the Post said.