Trump pens executive order to bolster cyber security

President Trump signed a long-awaited executive order Thursday, which aims to protect the nation’s infrastructure from incurring cyber attacks and increase cyber security initiatives.

The executive order released by the White House Thursday commands a review of the United States’ cybersecurity capabilities and seeks to improve the network security of government agencies, from which hackers have been able to gain unauthorized access to protected and sensitive data.

It describes the old methods of IT and cyber security as being “antiquated” and “difficult-to-defend,” and proposes an “effective risk management” strategy be put into place so that “planning, improvements, and modernization occur[s] in a coordinated way and with appropriate regularity.”

In addition, it shifts responsibility for cyber security risk to the heads of federal agencies, requiring them to adhere to standards set forth by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for assessing risk. It also requires the agency to submit a risk management report outlining “accepted risks,” “unmitigated vulnerabilities,” and an “action plan” within 90 days.

The order emphasizes the need to better protect critical infrastructures, such as the energy grid and financial sector, from falling prey to malicious cyber attacks that continue to pose a threat to the U.S. economy and national security. In doing so, it seeks to establish a “cyber deterrence strategy” and collaboration with U.S. allies in cyberspace.

Trump has also ordered a cyber security report addressing critical infrastructure to be submitted within six months.

Furthermore, the executive directive calls for workforce development to fill government with competent cyber security workers.

Trump’s highly anticipated cyber security measure was originally slated to be signed shortly after the inauguration but was reportedly postponed to allow more time to consult with federal agencies and experts on the matter.

Trump repeatedly spoke about issues related to cyber security while on the campaign trail, including the infamous hacking of DNC emails as part of unfounded allegations that an operation was carried out by Russians to help him win the election.

During a press briefing, White House homeland security advisor Tom Bossert stated Trump’s order built on efforts originally undertaken by the Obama administration. “A lot of progress was made in the last administration, but not nearly enough,” Bossert said. He then added that Russia’s alleged hacks in the election were not a motivation for the order, saying that “the Russians are not our only adversary on the internet.”

 

H/T: Reuters

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