recommended reading

Cybersecurity order 'close to completion'

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano // Matt Rourke/AP

A White House executive order on cybersecurity is “close to completion,” but Congress will still need to act to ensure security for American networks, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Wednesday.

The draft order is being reviewed at the "highest levels" and some issues still need to be ironed out, she said. President Obama has yet to review it. If he decides to move forward, an executive order would likely establish a system of voluntary standards to be followed by certain critical companies, such as those that control chemical plants or power grids.

The White House pushed Congress to give federal authorities the power to enforce mandatory, and later voluntary, standards, but Congress was unable to move forward with a bill. Now, chances of reviving the legislation appear slim, and the White House has said it is exploring what options it can take on its own.

“As much as we are doing, we must do even more,” Napolitano said in prepared testimony. “All sides agree that federal and private networks must be better protected, and information about cybersecurity threats must be shared more easily while ensuring that privacy and civil liberties are protected through a customized framework of information-handling policies and oversight.”

Still, she said, even a “robust” executive order cannot enact all of the needed reforms. Legislation would be required to resolve limitations on DHS hiring of cybersecurity experts; give companies more liability protections to encourage cybersecurity; and increase criminal penalties for cybercrimes.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., was a lead sponsor of the White House-backed legislation, but he said it is unlikely Congress will move on the issue before the end of the year. “Based on what we’ve been through, I wouldn’t count on it,” he said.

FBI Director Robert Mueller missed Wednesday’s hearing because of health reasons, but in testimony submitted to the committee he outlined a range of ways that hackers are threatening American networks.

“With these diverse threats, we anticipate that cybersecurity may well become our highest priority in the years to come,” he wrote. “Computer intrusions and network attacks are the greatest cyberthreat to our national security.”

Threatwatch Alert

Stolen laptop

Wireless Heart Monitor Maker to Pay $2.5M Settlement to HHS After Laptop Stolen

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.