Feeds

Obama signs off on secret national cybersecurity plan

Meanwhile, Congress sits on its hands

Mobile application security vulnerability report

President Obama has signed off on Presidential Policy Directive 20, a cybersecurity plan that seeks to establish the rules of engagement for defending the US critical infrastructure against online attack.

"What it does, really for the first time, is it explicitly talks about how we will use cyber operations," a senior administration official who has seen the classified report told the Washington Post.

"Network defense is what you're doing inside your own networks. ... Cyber operations is stuff outside that space, and recognizing that you could be doing that for what might be called defensive purposes."

The new directive is the first time the official US position on cyber threats has been revised since 2004, and sets out the terms by which the military can operate on civilian networks in order to fight off online attacks. It's intended to stop infighting among different government departments in the event of an attack.

The Pentagon has already declared the online world as one where it must have both and offensive and defensive capability, and this new directive gives clear guidance as to what is permissible.

Of course, this directive may never be used if the national critical infrastructure is protected already. But that's unlikely to happen, thanks to the ongoing logjam in the US Congress, as neither political party is showing any signs of being able to solve the issue to each other's satisfaction.

In August, the proposed US Cybersecurity Act 2012, which requires mandatory security standards for those government departments and private networks that make up the US critical infrastructure, was shot down by Republicans in the Senate.

The legislation was up before the Senate again on Wednesday, but only got 51 votes to 47, allowing the Republicans once again to enforce the filibuster rule and kill the legislation. The move makes it more likely that President Obama will have to issue a decree on the issue to enforce some common security standards.

"It's imperative that Democrats and Republicans work together to address what national security experts have called 'the most serious challenge to our national security since the onset of the nuclear age sixty years ago'," said Senate majority leader Harry Reid in a statement. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.