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Information Security

US to share cyberthreat data with private sector

US President Barack Obama has signed an executive order early this week requiring federal agencies to share cyberthreat information with private companies as well as creating a cybersecurity framework focused on reducing risks to companies providing critical infrastructure.


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The new framework will be voluntary for some operator of critical infrastructure, but federal agencies are required by the new order to oversee critical infrastructure to determine the operators and industries most at risk and to see if the government can require those companies to adopt the framework.

The agencies will particularly focus on critical infrastructure “where a cybersecurity incidents could reasonably result in a catastrophic regional or national effect on public health or safety, economic security, or national security”, according to the order.

During the speech, Obama said that enemies of the US who want to sabotage the country’s power grid, financial networks, or air-traffic control systems: “We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.” Obama called on the U.S. Congress to pass additional laws to secure U.S. networks, although he didn’t lay out details.

The order tasks the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to lead in the creation of the cybersecurity framework for operators of critical infrastructure, with the framework based on “voluntary consensus standards and industry best practices.” The framework will be developed with public input, the order said.

The order also directs the secretary of homeland security, the attorney general, the director of national intelligence and the secretary of defence to share cyberthreat information with private companies in the US.

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