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Trump Signs Executive Order to Prevent Computer Hacking

Trump Signs Executive Order to Prevent Computer Hacking

"DHS has always been a leader in protecting our nation against cyber threats and this executive order reaffirms our central role in ongoing cybersecurity efforts", Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement.

The new order puts responsibility for cybersecurity squarely on the shoulders of the director of every federal agency, making it more hard for executives to pass the buck to their information technology staffs every time a new breach is discovered. Among the new requirements is that agency heads must be accountable for implementing risk management measures and updating their systems.

The version of the order signed today bears some similarity to the earlier draft, but does contain some notable changes.

For infrastructure, the executive order tasks the secretary of homeland security with reporting to Trump how vulnerable utility, financial, healthcare and telecommunications systems are to terrorist attacks. It is the White House's first action at defending the United States against hackers. President Trump's order directs agency heads to identify authorities and mechanisms through which agencies can better support cybersecurity efforts of critical infrastructure, focusing primarily on "section 9 entities"-those defined in section 9 of President Obama's 2013 executive order that are "at greatest risk of attacks that could reasonably result in catastrophic regional or national effects on public health or safety, economic security, or national security".

In a wide-ranging executive order signed earlier this afternoon, Trump prescribed a host of studies: He wants to take a closer look at the way government spends money on computers and technologies, for example, while putting in place new policies to deter the likes of China or Russian Federation from launching a major cyber attack against the United States. It also urges voluntary cooperation with the private sector to develop better strategies to fend off and reduce attacks from botnets, or networks of infected devices.

"A lot of progress was made in the last administration, but not almost enough", he told reporters. "The one throat to choke for accountability for federal cybersecurity is now clear".




"The Russians are not our only adversary on the internet", Bossert said". Trump, a Republican, has also asked agencies to review their federal workforce's cyber talent, an area where the government has faced a growing shortfall of qualified personnel in recent years.

"I think the main question is whether these reports will be studies or presenting options, and hopefully it will be more of the latter", added David Simon, a former special counsel at the U.S. Department of Defense and partner at legal firm Mayer Brown. The order, signed on Thursday, is created to "centralize risk" and move the government's agencies toward shared IT services, White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said in a press briefing "We've got to move to the cloud, and try to protect ourselves, instead of fracturing our security posture", he said. "We saw that with the OPM hack and other things", said Bossert.

Relevant departments must provide a report to the President identifying risks to the United States defense industrial base, and a plan for mitigating those risks.

"It will be interesting to see whether the deterrence report and the global strategy will say anything new - but in general, I don't see anything unusual or that really goes in a different policy direction", Cyber Threat Alliance president Michael Daniel and former cybersecurity coordinator for the White House during the Obama administration said.

As part of the cybersecurity executive order released Thursday, agency heads are required to "show preference in their procurement for shared IT services", such as email, cloud and cybersecurity services.

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