Biden Administration Finally Lays Out Cybersecurity Protocols

The White House’s much-anticipated national cyber strategy was unveiled Thursday with the goal of charting the course for protecting the nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure.

The administration intends to expand minimum cybersecurity requirements for key sectors and be more prepared to prevent cyberattacks before they happen. The strategy is to utilize the military, law enforcement, and diplomacy to protect against malicious attacks.

Officials also targeted software makers whose products are deemed to miss basic cybersecurity requirements. The companies would face legal liability if safeguards are believed to come up short.

The administration declared that it should be the companies and not end users who face consequences for failure to reach minimum safety standards.

The U.S. has confronted several high-profile cyberattacks in the previous two years, including one targeting a major fuel pipeline that caused an East Coast fuel shortage.

Officials hope the new measures will bolster defenses in what has become an increasingly dangerous environment.

Minimum standards are already in place for critical sectors such as electrical facilities and nuclear energy, and the newly released report expanded the scope of requirements into other important areas.

The Biden document said “this strategy will position the United States and its allies and partners to build the digital ecosystem together, making it more easily and inherently defensible, resilient, and aligned with our values.”

There was no indication as to what specific “values” the administration referred to.

The report deemed the world in 2023 a “complex threat environment” and warned of state and non-state actors producing “novel campaigns to threaten our interests.”

The White House action came after Congress pushed through numerous bipartisan bills last year targeting infrastructure such as the health and energy sectors. Among them were new reporting requirements mandating that industries inform federal authorities of cyber and ransom attacks.

Interestingly, the Biden administration stated it will transfer the responsibility for the nation’s cyber defense from individuals, small businesses and local governments.

Kemba Walden, acting National Cyber Director, called the current system of depending on lower level defenses “unfair” and “ineffective.”

Instead, that duty will now rest on “organizations that are most capable and best-positioned to reduce risks for all of us.” What that means, of course, is the federal government.

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