Looking at the big picture – A Push to Widen the Government’s Cybersecurity Perspective Continues [Cybersecurity Brief]

It is a big moment for the Biden administration as it comes to the 100-days in office mark. There are a number of large-scale issues that have been on the table. But as we’ve covered in previous briefs, cybersecurity is fortunately taking one of those priority spots. In its latest move, the administration introduces the potential of a cybersecurity executive order. Elsewhere in government, a bi-partisan effort is being made to develop a cohort of civilian cybersecurity experts as a resource for cyber defense measures in the future.

After announcing a plan to protect cybersecurity around the nation’s power grid, the Biden administration is making yet another cyber announcement. Following the eye-opening experience of the SolarWinds attack that impacted around 18,000 customers and nine federal agencies, The Hill reports that President Biden is working on a cybersecurity executive order that seeks to better the country in protecting itself going forward. At this point, the order lists requirements that companies dealing with government business must abide by. According to The Hill, a senior Department of Homeland Security official shared that there are “…close to a dozen actions for an upcoming executive order.”

In a deep dive into the details of what to expect from the order, Dina Temple-Raston of NPR reports that “The initiative includes plans for more systematic investigations of cyber events and standards for software development.” The aim in this initiative is for such practices to eventually impact the processes of the private sector as well. Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology at the White House, told NPR that the plan will help in developing methods to investigate cyberattacks and form software standards. The order also takes a National Transportation Safety Board recovering of the black box approach in that a cyber organization would analyze code and data to uncover the root issue. Neuberger also pointed out that order emphasizes the importance of transparency requiring contractors to be more open about potential and actual attacks. Alex Stamos, who runs the Internet Observatory at Stanford University, explained that this whole approach would facilitate taking a big picture look at cybersecurity. 

Another group of lawmakers is also trying to form ways in which to further the country’s cybersecurity defense landscape. Air Force Times covered a bipartisan effort to put together a civilian reserve corps of cybersecurity experts that could step in and aid cyber protection strategies. The Civilian Cybersecurity Reserve pilot program suggests pulling from communities of former federal employees and military veterans to join and create workforces with the proper skills to handle such matters. The article states that, “The United States currently faces an annual shortfall of around 13,700 information security analysts.” This proposed bill would allow members of the cyber reserve to take on six-month positions to tackle necessary cybersecurity tasks.

 

Key Takeaways:

“Biden prepping cybersecurity executive order in response to SolarWinds attack” – Mychael Schnell, The Hill

https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/550902-biden-prepping-cybersecurity-executive-order-in-response-to-solarwinds

  • President Biden is working on a cybersecurity executive order that seeks to better the country in protecting itself going forward.
  • The executive order is expected to outline requirements for companies handling government related operations.
  • According to a Homeland Security official, there are around a dozen actions included in the order.

 

“Biden Order Will Require New Cybersecurity Standards in Response to SolarWinds Attack” – Dina Temple-Raston, NPR

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/29/991333036/biden-order-to-require-new-cybersecurity-standards-in-response-to-solarwinds-att

  • In reporting on the executive order from Biden, Dina Temple-Raston of NPR reports that “The initiative includes plans for more systematic investigations of cyber events and standards for software development.”
  • Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology at the White House, told NPR that the plan will help in developing methods to investigate cyberattacks and form software standards including an emphasis on transparency.
  • Alex Stamos, who runs the Internet Observatory at Stanford University, explained that this whole approach would facilitate taking a big picture look at cybersecurity. 

 

“A civilian cybersecurity reserve corps is needed for the Pentagon and DHS, lawmakers from both parties say” – Rachel S. Cohen, Air Force Times 

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2021/04/28/a-civilian-cybersecurity-reserve-corps-is-needed-for-the-pentagon-and-dhs-lawmakers-from-both-parties-say/

  • There is a bipartisan effort to put together a civilian reserve corps of cybersecurity experts that could step in and aid cyber protection strategies.
  • The Civilian Cybersecurity Reserve pilot program suggests pulling from communities of former federal employees and military veterans as they are often already equipped with the proper skills.
  • This proposed bill would allow members of the cyber reserve to take on six-month positions to tackle necessary cybersecurity tasks.
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