Giuliani to Advise Trump on Cyber

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani Carolyn Kaster/AP

Trump has pledged a 90-day cyber review soon after taking office.

This story has been updated.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will advise President-elect Donald Trump on private-sector cybersecurity, the president-elect’s transition office said Thursday.

Giuliani’s appointment comes one day after Trump doubled down on a pledge to launch a 90-day cyber review immediately after he takes office.

It’s not clear who will lead that review or if it will be focused solely on government or will include critical infrastructure sectors or the broader private sector. Trump has suggested at various times both the Pentagon and the intelligence community will play a role.

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The president-elect argued in a press conference Wednesday the U.S. government has “no defense” against cyberattacks and is “run by people that don’t know what they’re doing.”

Giuliani “will be sharing his expertise and insight as a trusted friend concerning private-sector cyber security problems and emerging solutions developing in the private sector,” according to a statement from the transition team.

Giuliani was an avid supporter of Trump during the campaign.

Trump will also be hosting occasional meetings with senior corporate executives to discuss “hacking, intrusions, disruptions, manipulations, theft of data and identities, and securing information technology infrastructure,” according to the release.

Those meetings will not result in a formal report or consensus, the transition team said. It’s unclear from the announcement whether Giuliani will be leading the meetings.

One goal of Giuliani’s work will be to prioritize cyber vulnerabilities based on input from the private sector and “solve those important ones first, and bring to the president and to his administration the things the private sector are doing,” he told reporters after the announcement.

“It’s as if our offense has gotten way ahead of our defense," Giuliani said. “The president-elect is very much aware of this."

Giuliani compared the group’s goal as bringing together cancer researchers from various places to work together on a cure. He described Russia’s hacking of Democratic political organizations, which intelligence officials say were aimed at boosting Trump’s electoral chances, as “obviously very notorious,” but part of a wider slate of cyber threats from China, Iran, North Korea and criminal networks.

Giuliani is CEO of Giuliani Partners, an international security consulting firm that does cyber work, and is on leave from a position as chair of the cybersecurity, privacy and crisis management practice at the Greenberg Traurig law firm.

Giuliani Partners recently announced a deal with BlackBerry to use software developed by the mobile phone company to assess the cybersecurity of government and corporate clients. BlackBerry was long the leader in supplying mobile devices to government, but its popularity has waned in recent years, partly because of concerns about the company’s long-term financial stability.

“As the use of modern communications and technology has moved forward at unparalleled speed the necessary defenses have lagged behind,” Trump’s transition team said. “The president-elect recognizes that this needs immediate attention and input from private sector leaders to help the government plan to make us more secure.”