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February 12, 2013

Obama signs executive order to strengthen cybersecurity

The executive order expands the voluntary enhanced cybersecurity services programme.

By CBR Staff Writer

US president, Barack Obama has signed an executive order to strengthen the cybersecurity of the country to protect its critical infrastructure from cyber attacks. Obama says cyber attacks are a real threat to America’s economy and security.

"We know hackers steal people’s identities and infiltrate private e-mail. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets," said Obama.

"Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions and our air traffic control systems.

"That’s why, earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy."

The executive order allows real time sharing of cyber threat information to assist participating critical infrastructure companies in their cyber protection efforts.

The order requires the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) to work collaboratively with critical infrastructure stakeholders to develop the framework which relies on existing international standards, practices, and procedures that have proven to be effective.

It also calls for a review of existing cybersecurity regulation under which regulatory agencies will use the Cybersecurity Framework to assess their cybersecurity regulations, determine if existing requirements are sufficient, and whether any existing regulations can be removed which are longer effective.

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"Together with the EU cyber security plan announced last week, this is a key step forward for both Governments and business in realising the need to collaborate and share intelligence to fight web attacks, and reduce their impact," said Terry Greer-King, UK managing director for internet security company, Check Point.

"Recent attacks such as those against the US Federal Reserve, and ‘Eurograbber’ which stole over £30M from European banks, show that almost any organisation is vulnerable, no matter how well-defended they think they are. In 2012, our research found that 63% of organisations were infected with bots, and UK companies reported an average of 66 new security attack attempts every week, with successful incidents costing an average of £145,000. Any move which helps to reduce these figures is very welcome."

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