Biden calls for enhanced critical infrastructure cybersecurity

Biden calls for enhanced critical infrastructure cybersecurity

The initiative began in mid-April with a pilot targeting the electricity subsector, which has led to more than 150 electricity utilities deploying control system cybersecurity technologies or agreeing to do so.    The ICS initiative, which the memo formally acknowledges, is a voluntary, collaborative effort between the federal government and members of the critical infrastructure community to facilitate the deployment of cybersecurity technology. The action plan for natural gas pipelines is underway, and initiatives for other sectors – including water and wastewater – will follow later this year.  

WHY IT MATTERS   “The cybersecurity threats posed to the systems that control and operate the critical infrastructure on which we all depend are among the most significant and growing issues confronting our nation,” he added.  

Biden’s memo comes amidst alarm bells from experts in the security community about increasing cyber threats in the United States, including those targeting healthcare.    “Protection of our nation’s critical infrastructure is a responsibility of the government at the federal, state, local, tribal and territorial levels and of the owners and operators of that infrastructure,” Biden wrote in the memo.  

“That effort may also include an examination of whether additional legal authorities would be beneficial to enhancing the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, which is vital to the American people and the security of our nation,” he continued. During a press call regarding the memo, a senior administration official said that the current patchwork of sector-specific and state-level approaches to cybersecurity is not sufficient to combat the threat landscape.    “These performance goals should serve as clear guidance to owners and operators about cybersecurity practices and postures that the American people can trust and should expect for such essential services,” wrote Biden.

The memo also directed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop cybersecurity performance goals for critical infrastructure, in collaboration with other agencies.   “We cannot address threats we cannot see; therefore, deploying systems and technologies that can monitor control systems to detect malicious activity and facilitate response actions to cyber threats is central to ensuring the safe operations of these critical systems,” Biden wrote in the memo.

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