Donald Trump signs executive order aimed at upgrading U.S. cyber defences

The order builds on efforts made by the previous Obama Administration.

The Trump Administration has made its first significant move in what U.S. President Donald Trump called a top priority, on Thursday, the U.S. President signed an executive order that aims to bolster the government’s cyber security defences and protect its critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.

According to the White House, the order was aimed at protecting sectors such as the finance and energy from sophisticated cyberattacks that can cripple parts of the economy.

Tom Bossert, White House’s homeland security adviser stated the order aims to build on progress made by the earlier Obama administration.

The notable changes requires that the heads of federal agencies use a National Institute of Standards and Technology framework to assess and manage cyber risks.

Furthermore, they must also prepare a report within ninety days and document how they will implement such defenses.

The earlier administration had encouraged only the private sector to adopt the voluntary NIST framework and not make them mandatory for government agencies. This had attracted a load of criticism, especially since 20 million personnel records from the Office of Personnel Management were stolen by allegedly Chinese hackers.

During a White House briefing, Bossert stated, government agencies will now have to “practice what they preach. A lot of progress was made in the last administration, but not nearly enough.”

Michael Daniel, the former White House cyber security coordinator was generally speaking all praise for the order but said it was largely “a plan for a plan.”

Trump’s order has called for an examination of the impact of moving agencies toward a shared tech environment, including using cloud computing services. The order has also urged government agencies to collaborate with their private sector counterparts so as to better develop strategies to fend off and minimise attacks from botnets.

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