Feeds

Obama unfurls master plan for US cybersecurity

Here comes the cyber czar

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

On his first full-day as US President, Barack Obama on Wednesday outlined plans to declare the country's computer infrastructure a national asset that will be protected by a cyber advisor who will report directly to the president.

Part of a broader strategy laid out on the newly revamped Whitehouse.gov website for securing US soil against terrorist attacks and other emergencies, the plan is designed to shore up IT networks and chemical and electrical facilities and prevent cyber-espionage.

The strategy, including the plan to appoint a national cyber czar, largely follows recommendations a bi-partisan group of more than 60 government and business computer security experts offered in December. The lack of specifics about the cyber advisor's role and authority makes it hard to judge how effect the new position will be.

"Certainly, the President will need advising on this issue," said Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer for BT. "How he gets it matters less than that he gets it."

In addition to laying out strategies for defeating terrorism and preventing nuclear and biological attacks, the plan focused on ways to protect the nation's information networks. Other plans included:

  • Funding for research and development to harden the US cyber infrastructure. The initiative would involve private industry and academia "to develop and deploy a new generation of secure hardware and software."
  • Working with the private sector to establish "tough new standards for cyber security and physical resilience."
  • Preventing corporate cyber-espionage to protect the nation's trade secrets and research and development.
  • Developing a strategy to minimize opportunities for cybercrime, including "shutting down untraceable internet payment schemes."
  • Mandating standards for securing personal data including the institution of "a common standard for security such data across industries."

The plan also discusses ways to improve the security of critical infrastructure, by tightening regulations for chemical plants and modernizing the electrical grid.

As is typical with master plans, the devil will be in the details. A key feature to watch will be the amount of authority and access to the president given to Obama's cyber advisor. BT's Schneier recalled the difficulty Richard Clarke, former chief counter-terrorism adviser to the US National Security Council, had under former President George W. Bush.

Said Schneier: "Without budgetary authority, it's very hard to do anything." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
JLaw, Kate Upton exposed in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.