The U.S. President, Donald Trump, signed an executive order on cybersecurity yesterday, one that has been put on hold since January as agency leaders weighed in on what is acceptable network security for federal agencies and critical infrastructure.

The executive order calls for all federal agencies to move to a shared, consolidated network architecture and IT Infrastructure, including email and cloud services.

Each federal department must implement NIST’s Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure, a guide that focuses on security controls, mandated by the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). This guide emphasizes software, firmware, information integrity, configuration management policies, and procedures.

Departments are then required to submit a risk assessment report showing what known, but unmitigated vulnerabilities exist within each agency, unmet budget needs for improving networks, and preferences for modernizing IT choices. The American Technology Council will then create a report that lays out a roadmap to be delivered to Trump within the next three months.  

In terms of critical infrastructure, the EO requests that the Department of Homeland Security report to the White House within the next 6 months with the state of cybersecurity for these systems. Included will be an assessment of the potential for “disastrous” effects on regional or national public health and safety, economic security, or national security stemming from a cyber-attack, along with recommendations for hardening systems going forward.

The EO expresses serious concerns on attacks made to the energy grid, requiring a separate report on what the effects of a prolonged power outage would be.

Lastly, the order lays out the goals for a cyber deterrence strategy, including ways to build a more cooperative framework with US allies, ways to help protect private sector networks, and the creation of a program to train the future of the US cybersecurity workforce.


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