On May 12, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to bolster the nation’s cyber security efforts. This order comes days after the significant ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, an incident which slowed fuel distribution along the eastern coast, led to en masse rushes to the pumps, and cost Colonial Pipeline nearly $5 million in ransom cryptocurrency.
The Colonial Pipeline is just the latest victim in a string of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. President Biden’s executive order aims to protect the United States against such cyber threats through partnership with the private sector, claiming “the Federal Government needs to make bold changes and significant investments in order to defend the vital institutions that underpin the American way of life”.
“Prevention, detection, assessment, and remediation” will be accomplished by:
- Removing barriers to sharing threat information between the private sector and the federal government, including cyber incidents or potential incidents
- Modernizing federal cyber security to keep up with today’s evolving cyber threat landscape. Best practice adoption, zero trust architecture, cloud service implementation are among the highlighted modernization attempts.
- Enhancing software supply chain security through more “rigorous and predictable mechanisms for ensuring that products function securely, and as intended”.
- Establishing a Cyber Security Safety Review Board comprised of government and private sector members.
- Standardizing the federal government’s response playbook across all agencies to ensure a cohesive methodology for identifying, remediating, and recovering from cyber incidents.
- Increasing early cyber security vulnerability and incident detection.
- Improving the federal government’s investigative and remediation capabilities through event logging.
According to Congressman Jim Langevin, “Cybersecurity is the most urgent national security challenge facing our nation”. It is time that the public and private sectors see cyber threats as a real danger that require thorough and thoughtful collaboration to mitigate its damages.