During his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Obama announced that he had signed an executive order aimed at improving the country's defenses against cyberattacks. The order, which calls for a working group to develop voluntary cybersecurity standards, is being called "a good first step" by many.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Eric Engleman reported, "President Barack Obama bypassed Congress and issued an executive order to boost U.S. cybersecurity while telling lawmakers they still must act to further strengthen the nation’s computer defenses. The order, released yesterday as Obama began his State of the Union speech, directs the government to develop voluntary cybersecurity standards for companies operating the nation’s vital infrastructure, such as power grids and air traffic control systems. It instructs federal agencies to consider putting those standards into existing regulations."
InformationWeek quoted Obama's State of the Union address, where he said, "America must face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy."
ZDNet's Zack Whittaker noted, "There was grave concern that the president could sign an executive order effectively signing into law some, if not most, parts of the proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) Bill.... The final executive order doesn't have half of the concerning privacy implications that CISPA does, and has also garnered support from a major privacy group, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)."
All Things D's Arik Hesseldahl observed, "A first step. That’s how President Obama’s executive order concerning 'Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity,' is being widely described today. As expected, the order creates a government working group that will reach out to the private sector to put in place some voluntary standards for companies deemed to be running critical infrastructure — banks, utilities, transportation companies and the like."