Obama planning cybersecurity order
Ever since the Senate blocked a cybersecurity bill last month, people have been expecting an executive order promoting enhanced cybersecurity policies.
Such an order is now apparently very close. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said recently that a cybersecurity executive order was "close to completion," and will soon be ready for Obama's signature.
"The order would create a voluntary program in which companies operating key infrastructure would elect to meet a set of security standards developed, in part, by the government," reports The Hill.
The goal is to protect grids, water systems, roads, bridges, dams, power stations and other critical infrastructure. While cybersecurity measures are a timely issues right now, the issues have been clouded by politics. The executive order is based on measures of the failed bill, which was opposed by corporate lobbyists on grounds that it might serve "as a backdoor for regulatory agencies to force companies to meet new security standards."
Politics aside, companies and other entities need to do more to protect the nation's infrastructure. Voluntary guidelines like those expected from the executive order will likely not be enough. At a minimum, government and industry need to work together. At a maximum, companies need to take aggressive steps to ferret out the criminals who are attacking their networks.
As of now, most companies are taking a much more passive approach. That might not change significantly, even with an executive order. Hopefully, we will not have to wait for an infrastructure incident to put infrastructure cyber security on the front burner. Unfortunately, there are growing signs that the hackers are gaining the upper hand.
A recent report from Dell's SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit has found that oil and energy companies across the globe have come under attack, with more sophisticated techniques. There's precious little time for politicking with this issue. -Jim