Menu
In light of increased cyberattacks, White House sets defence plan with FBI in charge

In light of increased cyberattacks, White House sets defence plan with FBI in charge

President Obama has clarified how the government will respond to major attacks

Faced with increasingly troubling attacks on its cyber infrastructure, the United States has outlined new measures intended to help it respond more effectively to attacks that might compromise public safety or its national security interests.

On Tuesday, President Obama approved a directive that lays out how federal agencies will respond to “significant cyber incidents," with the FBI to be formally in charge of investigating.

Although the President has made cybersecurity a priority, the U.S. continues to confront attacks targeting the private sector and the federal government, the White House said.

Some of these include “significant cyber incidents” which the President defines as attacks that will likely harm the U.S.’s national security, economy, civil liberties or public confidence.

“Cyber incidents are a fact of contemporary life,” he wrote. “And significant cyber incidents are occurring with increasing frequency.”

As part of his directive, the President is ordering the FBI to take the lead in investigating and dealing with perpetrators of major cyber attacks.

The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, will be in charge of lessening the damage and patching any vulnerabilities from the attack.

Both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security already investigate many major cyber crimes, but Tuesday’s directive better clarifies their roles.

Obama approved the directive weeks after hackers stole confidential documents from the Democratic National Committee. Those documents have now leaked to the public and could influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

Although private security firms suspect that Russian state-sponsored hackers are behind the intrusion, the FBI is still investigating the matter and the President is waiting for the results.

Tuesday’s directive doesn’t provide clarity on what Obama might do if the FBI finds that Russia was involved with the DNC breach. But the private sector has been asking the White House for a guideline on the federal government’s role in fighting cyber crimes.

While existing policies can handle more minor threats, the U.S. needs a unified response to deal with severe attacks, the President said in his directive.

The White House has also come out with a color-coded scale that federal agencies will use to judge the severity of cyber incidents. It runs from zero to five, and threats evaluated at level 3 or higher will be deemed significant and trigger the FBI to investigate.

In addition, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will function in a support role to both gather intelligence and even “degrade” the perpetrators’ capabilities.

In a statement, U.S. Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, said he approved of the directive and called it an “important step” to ensuring that federal agencies can respond to domestic cyber attacks.

However, he also said that the President should clarify the rules of engagement for cyber warfare. That might mean the U.S. defining when a cyber attack should be construed as an act of war.

U.S. lawmakers have proposed a bill, still under review, that would direct the President to design such a policy.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments