US President Obama signs cyber security executive order

13 Feb 2013

US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama has signed an executive order that will bolster America’s cyber security defences through partnership with critical infrastructure providers.

The order, which has been several months in the making, will enable real-time sharing of cyber threat information to assist critical infrastructure companies in their cyber protection efforts.

The executive order will facilitate the development of a Cyber Security Framework by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US.

It will also see critical infrastructure providers – from water and energy to telecoms, transport and more – support international standards and procedures that have proven to be effective.

To support innovation, the Cyber Security Framework will provide guidance that is technology neutral and that will enable critical infrastructure sectors to benefit from a more competitive market for services.

The executive order includes safeguards for privacy and civil liberties protections.

It follows on work that commenced in 2009 when the then newly elected President Obama declared America’s digital infrastructure to be a strategic national asset and protecting it to be a national priority.

As part of the effort, the Obama administration has created the National Cyber Security & Communications Integration Center, issued a National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, and has begun the process of reforming legislation that stands in the way of protecting the US from cyber threats.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years