For weeks now rumors have been circulating about the White House working to draft an executive order, which will put in place cybersecurity measures to protect the critical infrastructure of the United States.
A glimpse of the draft’s intent was released in news reports in recent days, including a Washington Post report, which among other points, noted that the plans called for voluntary standards.
That has many scratching their heads wondering what good this will do.
As you may recall Congress failed to reach a compromise and pass proposed legislation that would bolster the nation’s cyber defenses that would guard against cyber attacks that could possibly impact the power grid, telecommunications infrastructure and other facets of the U.S. critical infrastructure.
The White House move happens to coincide with a stark warning coming out of Government Communications Headquarters in Britain (GCHQ), which has issued numerous warnings about cybersecurity threats and the measures businesses should consider, and has warned they now see real and credible threats to cyber security of an unprecedented scale, diversity, and complexity.
At the same time Reuters reported that Deborah Plunkett, a senior official with the National Security Agency, said recently that other nations are increasingly employing cyber attacks without “any sense of restraint.”
The article went on to infer that these cyber actions are so irresponsible that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union would have dared to do – even at the height of the Cold War.
I have been working in this area for nearly two decades and I don’t ever remember such harsh warnings being issued and all at the same time. It makes me wonder, what do they know that we don’t?
Kevin G. Coleman is a long-time security technology executive and former Chief Strategist at Netscape. He is Senior Fellow with the Technolytics Institute weekly blog for Breaking Gov on the topic of cyber intelligence.