Biden signs cybersecurity executive order in wake of pipeline hack

President Joe Biden has signed an executive order aimed at bolstering US cybersecurity defences following the Colonial Pipeline.

Cybersecurity publication Security Week noted the order was in response to the recent cyberattacks that highlighted how vulnerable the US’ public and private sectors are to high-tech spies and criminals operating from around the world.

The order will mandate all federal agencies to enact basic cybersecurity measures including multi-factor authentication and new security standards for software creators that contract with the federal government.

Furthermore, the order will create a pilot program to develop a rating system to highlight whether software and internet-connected devices were developed securely. IT service providers who are contracting with the US government will also be required to share particular information about cyber breaches.

Lastly, the order will include the establishment of a cybersecurity safety review board tasked with examining major cyber incidents and providing recommendations to manage them.

The executive order comes following the recent ransomware cyberattack at Colonial Pipeline which brought the company’s operations to a halt after it affected some of its IT systems. Colonial transports 100 million gallons of fuel daily over a 2.7-million-mile radius in the US.

A couple of days after the hack, the FBI declared that the cybercriminal behind the recent Colonial Pipeline was a ransomware variant known as DarkSide.

In his executive order, Biden stated, “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.

Earlier this year, the US introduced sanctions on Russia following the SolarWinds hack which affected many US government agencies and has been linked to a Russian intelligence unit and characterised as an intelligence-gathering operation.

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