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Leaked Draft of Executive Order Causes Cyber Stir

Monday, September 17, 2012 | 4:21 PM Leave a comment Go to comments

As the speculation that President Obama will issue an executive order on cybersecurity continues to grow, a draft of the order has reportedly been leaked and is raising concern over potential regulations.

According to the Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the draft E.O., the Obama administration is planning to issue new guidelines to protect the nation’s networks from looming cyber attacks.

Under the draft order, the government “would create a new critical infrastructure cybersecurity council, which would be run by the Homeland Security Department and include representatives from the departments of defense, justice and commerce, and national intelligence office,” according to the AP.

The draft order calls for the private sector to “collaborate with the cybersecurity council and also cooperate with NIST in the development of cybersecurity guidance,” the AP noted.

But ahead of the president’s reported plans to issue the executive order, ranking Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Commerce Committee and the Intelligence Committee have stepped up to advise against the E.O.

In an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Texas) and Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) warned that an executive order on cybersecurity would put strains on the private sector and stifle innovation.

“That’s the wrong solution because it cannot fully address the one area most critical to improving cybersecurity—enhancing the sharing of cyber-threat information among private firms and with the government,” the senators wrote. “This cooperation and flexibility is critical and should be encouraged, not disrupted by adding new layers of bureaucracy at the Department of Homeland Security.”

“Unilateral action in the form of government mandates on the private sector creates an adversarial relationship instead of a cooperative one,” the trio went on to advise.

But despite the three senators’ suggestions for more congressional debates, one of their colleagues, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), indicated that cybersecurity has hit a wall on Capitol Hill.

“Negotiations are going on, but the fact is they haven’t made much progress,” Lieberman told the National Journal. “Nobody thinks we’re going to take it up in this two-week period. I’m still hopeful we’ll get some agreement to go forward in the lame-duck session.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times has also offered up its stance on cybersecurity. In an editorial titled “A New Kind of Warfare,” the Times noted that state-sponsored cyber attacks and espionage have prompted military units across the globe to invest in cybersecurity and cyber defense.

“The United States, China, Russia, Britain and Israel began developing basic cyberattack capabilities at least a decade ago and are still figuring out how to integrate them into their military operations,” wrote the Times, further suggesting the U.S. “still hasn’t figured out what impact cyberweapons could have on actual battlefield operations or when an aggressive cyber response is required.”

“What’s clearly needed are new international understandings about what constitutes cyber aggression and how governments should respond. Meanwhile, the United States must do what it can to protect its own networks.”

For the latter part of the Times’ cyber statements, it seems President Obama is onboard.


Following are some additional cyber headlines you may have missed:


Cyber attacks grow increasingly “reckless”, NSA official says (Reuters)

Sen. Coats uses 9/11 to showcase cybersecurity as next big threat (The Hill)

Federal IT workforce needs training investment, expert says (FederalComputerWeek)

Sen. Collins: Congress should continue work on cybersecurity (The Hill)

Where does Mitt Romney stand on cybersecurity? (Network World)


Google acquires cybersecurity startup VirusTotal (Reuters)

Private sector wary of fed cyber security regs, oversight (GCN)

Hundreds more cyber attacks linked to 2009 Google breach (Reuters)

Companies team to make warriors cyberwarriors (Washington Post)

HP unveils new enterprise data security offerings (eWeek)


Korea, US mull regular cyber warfare drills (The Korea Times)

UK to decide on NASA hacker extradition by Oct. 16 (PC World)

NATO think tank looks to international law to define cyber war (FierceGovernmentIT)


GoDaddy site goes down, hacker takes credit (New York Times)

Leader of hacker group Anonymous arrested in Texas (Reuters)

Film brings drama to Julian Assange’s teenage hacker days (Wired)

Hacker gets 30 months for botnet that hit 72,000 PCs (PC Magazine)

Elite hacker gang has unlimited supply of zero-day bugs (Computerworld)

Hackers reveal how they accessed Syrian president’s email (Huffington Post)


A cybersecurity executive fiat is a very bad idea (Heritage Foundation)

Why are companies so bad at responding to data breaches? (TheNextWeb)

Six cybersecurity measures for your business (Mashable)


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  1. Monday, September 24, 2012 | 9:32 AM at 9:32 AM
  2. Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | 9:23 AM at 9:23 AM
  3. Monday, October 15, 2012 | 9:15 AM at 9:15 AM
  4. Monday, November 19, 2012 | 1:39 PM at 1:39 PM
  5. Monday, December 17, 2012 | 12:54 PM at 12:54 PM

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