Risk
1/27/2012
02:02 PM
50%
50%

White House Presses For New Cybersecurity Laws

Congress has dragged its feet for years on passing cybersecurity legislation, so the Obama administration is applying pressure.

Top 10 Open Government Websites
Top 10 Open Government Websites
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The White House is urging Congress to pass President Obama's cybersecurity legislation in 2012 to give officials the authority they need to combat "growing and increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats," according to the leading U.S. cybersecurity official.

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt called for legislators to "modernize" outdated laws surrounding cybersecurity by supporting the broad legislative proposal President Obama sent to Congress in May, according to a White House blog post.

"It is our sincere hope that members of Congress will look at the significant amount of public debate that has been occurring on these issues--as well as the work and debate on this issue over the years in the Congress--and continue to work in a bipartisan manner to quickly enact legislation to address the full range of cyber threats facing our nation," Schmidt said.

[ The feds are trying to better understand what is happening in cyberspace. Read FBI Seeks Data-Mining App for Social Media. ]

Indeed, Congress has dragged its feet for years on passing cybersecurity legislation despite the fact that there are numerous bills circulating, some of which call for the same regulations as the White House plan. Congressional leaders had expressed an interest in passing cybersecurity legislation by the end of last year but it did not happen.

Schmidt's urging came a day after President Obama's annual State of the Union address, in which the president mentioned the proposal as a way "to stay one step ahead of our adversaries" by securing cyberspace.

Laws authorizing collaboration with the private sector--which the feds already are engaged in--are a key part of the proposal and should be addressed in whatever Congress passes, Schmidt said.

"Legislation that fails to provide the legislative authorities our professionals need to work with the private sector to ensure the safe and reliable operation of our critical infrastructure networks would not be commensurate with the very real and urgent risks to our nation," he said.

Other aspects of the plan place cybersecurity authority more squarely in the hands of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)--which already has a key role in leading federal cybersecurity efforts--and address data breaches and privacy protections.

Specifically, Obama's legislative proposal clarifies how companies can share information about cyberthreats with the DHS, and allows the agency to help critical infrastructure companies with their cybersecurity needs if the private sector wants assistance.

The DHS also would be responsible for defining risks that controllers of the most critical infrastructure need to mitigate and require them to provide their plans for doing so to the agency.

In terms of data breaches, Obama's legislation includes a national standard for reporting breaches to replace 47 existing state data-breach reporting laws. It also would toughen up minimum punishments for cyber criminals.

The DHS also factors into the privacy-protections built into the White House plan. The department would be required to develop privacy and civil liberties procedures that the Attorney General would oversee and approve, and companies that want to share information with the government would first have to wipe it of any identifying information unrelated to cyber threats.

There has been some opposition to the White House cybersecurity plan. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for instance, worried that placing cybersecurity requirements on critical infrastructure companies would place an undo regulatory and financial burden on them, among other concerns.

How 10 federal agencies are tapping the power of cloud computing--without compromising security. Also in the new, all-digital InformationWeek Government supplement: To judge the success of the OMB's IT reform efforts, we need concrete numbers on cost savings and returns. Download our Cloud In Action issue of InformationWeek Government now. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-4467
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3, does not properly determine scrollbar boundaries during the rendering of FRAME elements, which allows remote attackers to spoof the UI via a crafted web site.

CVE-2014-4476
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3; Apple Safari before 6.2.3, 7.x before 7.1.3, and 8.x before 8.0.3; and Apple TV before 7.0.3, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) via a crafted web site, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-4477
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3; Apple Safari before 6.2.3, 7.x before 7.1.3, and 8.x before 8.0.3; and Apple TV before 7.0.3, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) via a crafted web site, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-4479
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3; Apple Safari before 6.2.3, 7.x before 7.1.3, and 8.x before 8.0.3; and Apple TV before 7.0.3, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) via a crafted web site, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-4480
Published: 2015-01-30
Directory traversal vulnerability in afc in AppleFileConduit in Apple iOS before 8.1.3 and Apple TV before 7.0.3 allows attackers to access unintended filesystem locations by creating a symlink.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
If you’re a security professional, you’ve probably been asked many questions about the December attack on Sony. On Jan. 21 at 1pm eastern, you can join a special, one-hour Dark Reading Radio discussion devoted to the Sony hack and the issues that may arise from it.