WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- President Obama signed an executive order Tuesday to enhance America's ability to defend against cyberattacks.
The executive order also calls for jointly developing and implementing a framework of cybersecurity practices with industry partners, the White House said in a fact sheet released in concert with Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday at the Capitol.
The order expands the voluntary Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program to enable near real-time sharing of cyberthreat information to help participating critical infrastructure companies in their cyberprotection efforts.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, a division of the Commerce Department, will collaborate with critical infrastructure stakeholders to develop the framework relying on current proven international standards, practices and procedures.
"Today's new Executive Order was developed in tandem with the Presidential Policy Directive on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience also released today," the White House said. "The Executive Order strengthens the U.S. government's partnership with critical infrastructure owners and operators to address cyberthreats."
The executive order directs the development of new information-sharing programs to provide both classified and unclassified threat and attack information to U.S. companies. The order requires federal agencies to proffer unclassified reports of threats to U.S. companies in a timely manner.
To foster technical innovation, the cybersecurity framework will provide guidance that is technology neutral and enables critical infrastructure sectors to tap into a competitive market for products and services.
The executive order also:
-- Includes strong privacy and civil liberties protections based on the Fair Information Practice Principles. Agencies are required to incorporate privacy and civil liberties safeguards in their activities under this order.
-- Establishes a voluntary program to promote adoption of the Cybersecurity Framework. The Department of Homeland Security will work with sector-specific agencies and industry councils to develop a program to help companies implement the Cybersecurity Framework and to identify incentives for adoption.
-- Calls for a review of existing cybersecurity regulation to find what works and eliminate regulations that no longer are effective or are inefficient.
In May 2009, Obama declared the country's digital infrastructure a strategic national asset and made protecting the infrastructure a national priority.
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