The National Security Agency (NSA) released its “2021 NSA Cybersecurity Year in Review” report that highlights a year filled with increased collaboration with industry experts to mitigate cyber threats.

The report explains a variety of the agency’s accomplishments from the past year, including working with partners to respond to national-level threats, standing up the NSA Cybersecurity Collaboration Center, discovering and disclosing vulnerabilities to industry, and more.

“While many of our mission successes must remain classified, I’m proud that we can showcase how NSA Cybersecurity helps contribute to securing the nation in this report,” said Rob Joyce, NSA cybersecurity director. “The successes really show the value NSA Cybersecurity delivers through its foreign threat intelligence insights, partnerships, and expertise.”

Joyce said that the teamwork mentality to fight adversaries is “evident” at NSA’s Cybersecurity Collaboration Center.

In the last year, Joyce said the new facility brought together experts from NSA, other government agencies, and industry partners to “work side by side outside the NSA fence line to combat cyber intrusions that threaten our nation’s military capabilities, intellectual property, and technology.”

The unclassified center worked with over 100 Defense Industrial Base (DIB) partners to reduce attack surfaces. It also disclosed a series of critical vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange software that were patched by Microsoft in 2021.

Working with partners also allowed NSA to quickly respond to national-level threats, such as the SolarWinds hack.

“Early collaboration and information sharing allowed NSA and industry partners to truly understand the scope of the threat and protect the nation’s most sensitive systems,” the report says of the SolarWinds hack. “NSA analyzed adversary intent and tradecraft, informed detection and mitigation efforts of U.S. government and DIB partners, provided cybersecurity guidance and conducted hunt operations.”

“When our insights are brought into a feedback loop with industry and government partners, amazing outcomes are achieved,” Joyce said in the report. “We create impact far beyond what any of us can do alone.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.