Cybersecurity measures to further beef up the security of United States was one of the major agendas on President Donald Trump’s election campaign. And he was to come through on the same this Tuesday, with the signing of an executive order on cybersecurity measures. It was to be followed by a “listening session” with cybersecurity experts. But the signing was cancelled out of the blue, that too without explanation.
The said executive order, if signed, would have commissioned an internal review process to determine the federal government’s capabilities and defenses. This process is similar to the one undertaken by President Obama when took the responsibility of the country in his hands. It is an important step to analyse the current status of online safety of the nation.
As for the cybersecurity order being discussed, it never made an appearance at today’s White House gathering. The listening session, on the other hand, was organised as planned. It was attended by Trumps’ top advisers and appointees and two people from the National Security Council’s cybersecurity policy team, among others. President Trump only made a fleeting appearance before and after the discussion. And he said,
We must defend and protect federal networks and data. We operate these networks on behalf of the American people and they are very important and very sacred.
In a pool report, a White House official has already validated similarities between the drafts of Trump and Obama administration. The same reads,
The changes are in management philosophy, in enterprise risk management, and modernizing federal IT. Not that that’s something previous presidents haven’t tried, but President Trump has a plan for accomplishing it.
Further, a draft of the cybersecurity executive order was leaked and obtained by the Washington Post. The Trump administration is looking to introduce reforms in four key areas: U.S. cybersecurity capabilities and vulnerabilities, incentives to improve private sector cybersecurity infrastructure, identify capabilities and vulnerabilities.
But, the cybersecurity draft instead of reviewing just the policies has raised more questions about his stance on the same. The said document does offer information on critical infrastructure but there is no mention of voting systems. There is a possibility that Trump administration might not follow along the current classification of voting systems because the same was reportedly hacked by the Russians. There have also been rumors that hacking campaigns to influence had also been designed by them.
There is also no mention about how the said government plans to regulate cybersecurity measures for private internet companies, reports TechCrunch. Trump has always been on the lower rung for their outlook towards technology and such practices. Thus, there is a possibility that the said administration might have a stringent outlook on cybersecurity measures. The process of escalation for the cyberspace might happen at a rapid pace under Trump’s control as opposed to Obama.
Also, Erin Geller of Politico reported from the cybersecurity meeting at the White House and said that some ordered reviews have now been removed from the latest draft. The executive order apparently doesn’t include any mention of policies for foreign cyber adversaries. This is being seen a surprising change in the draft, especially when the intelligence community has been viewing Russia as a potential cybersecurity threat to the U.S.
For example, the EO apparently does not create a review of foreign cyber adversaries.
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) January 31, 2017
Currently, it is being speculated that the Department of Homeland Security is yet to review the edited final version of the cybersecurity draft that’ll be signed by President Trump. There is a possibility that the President will shut out other relevant agencies from the draft process and sign off the review measures soon.