Trump signs order making agency heads 'accountable' for cyberattacks

Trump speaks at the White House in Washington

He laid out the order's priorities, including protecting federal networks and upping critical infrastructure cyber security efforts.

While numerous recommendations are common-sense steps to help secure the nation's information infrastructure and systems, technology experts were critical of the lack of progress the order represented for the issue of cybersecurity.

Based on the draft, one of the key themes of Trump's approach to cybersecurity in the United States government is that the heads of each individual agency will be held responsible for the cybersecurity of his or her agency. Agencies are expected to submit reports on their risks within 90 days.

Chris Risley, the CEO of enterprise security firm Bastille, told IBT the Department of Homeland Security already has gotten out in front of the order and begun working to secure government and nongovernment critical infrastructure.

"Civil society organizations in the United States have fought hard against the militarization of the domestic internet", said Amie Stepanovich, U.S. Policy Manager and Global Policy Counsel at Access Now.

Some had anxious the executive order would force private companies to stop botnets, but Bossert said any action would occur voluntarily.

Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert previewed Trump's executive order at the briefing, saying it lays out three U.S. cybersecurity priorities.

President Donald Trump finally signed his long-anticipated cybersecurity executive order on May 11. It also urges voluntary cooperation with the private sector to develop better strategies to fend off and reduce attacks from botnets, or networks of infected devices. "A lot of progress was made in the last administration, but not almost enough", he said.

That provision effectively establishes a single structure centralizing all federal IT networks. Within 240 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall make publicly available a preliminary report on this effort.

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"Internet of Things security is a critical but very complicated issue, and it is laudable that the new administration wants to pursue solutions", he said.

Back in January, Trump vowed to come up with a "major report on hacking defense" within 90 days, but some observers said the executive order didn't meet the target.

For instance, it calls on the government to release reports over the next months, detailing how it can bolster the US cybersecurity work force, protect the country from hacks, and work with foreign countries to stop cyber-related threats.

The stress on risk management "is a much more comprehensive and thoughtful approach than we've had in the past", said Kiersten Todt, who was the executive director of the Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Security, which presented its report in December.

"Trump's cybersecurity executive order is smart policy and a big win for this administration", said Olcott, a former legal adviser to the Senate Commerce Committee and counsel to the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee.

White House Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert said the order sought to build on efforts undertaken by the Obama administration.

While demand for cyber talent has been a key issue in the government's workforce development plans, the executive order opens several avenues to bolster talent acquisition for cybersecurity.

Michael Daniel, who served as White House cyber security coordinator under former Democratic President Barack Obama, generally praised the order but said it was largely "a plan for a plan".

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