Cyber security Order Emphasizes Cooperation and modernizing IT Systems
A cyber security executive order signed by U.S. President Joe Biden, calls for sweeping changes in the way the federal government works with security professionals. The order released today by the White House intends to overhaul government contracting language so security professionals can share technology and best defense strategies efficiently.
There are also provisions for upgrading the security architecture that the federal government uses for its own IT systems.
“The Federal Government must improve its efforts to identify, deter, protect against, detect, and respond to these actions and actors,” states the Order signed by US President Joe Biden.
Over 18,000 organizations including at least eight U.S. Federal agencies were all victims of the recent SolarWinds cyberattack. Sunburst malware had compromised IT networks using a security platform called SolarWinds Orion across the United States and Europe.
Sunburst malware was first seen on December 8th by security firm FireEye. The company had also been compromised. Cooperation between public and private sector security professionals was needed to mitigate this large-scale attack.
The vulnerability was blamed on a weak password exposed in public online repository.
“The Federal Government must also carefully examine what occurred during any major cyber incident and apply lessons learned.”
This order comes on the heels of a five day ransomware attack on Colonial Pipelines Co. The hackers behind DarkSide ransomware encrypted and disabled Colonial Pipeline’s IT network. The company was unable to deliver refined fuel which supplies 45% of the East Coast of the United States.
FireEye worked with Colonial, The US Bureau of investigations (FBI), and The US Department of Energy to mitigate the DarkSide ransomware attack.
Refined petroleum product delivery operations have since resumed.
Removing Barriers to Sharing Threat Information.
The executive order intends to secure the nation’s IT systems including government and private sector systems by making the sharing of critical security information easier. Currently contract terms and restrictions limit sharing technology resources and threat information.
Removal of these contractual barriers will help security professionals defend networks more effectively.
The Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, and the Director of National Intelligence will be reviewing the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement contract concerning IT and OT contractors.
Modernizing Federal Government Cybersecurity.
Section two of the President’s Executive Order deals with modernizing the federal government’s own IT infrastructure. In the next few months, the feds will develop a plan to adopt cloud based technology. Section 2 also discussed migrating the National Institute of Standards and Technology within the US Department of Commerce.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) shall modernize its current cybersecurity programs, services, and capabilities to be fully functional with cloud-computing environments with Zero Trust Architecture.