Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bill: President Could Order Companies to Deploy Security Fixes

Jill R. Aitoro writes on

A much anticipated cybersecurity bill introduced on Thursday would give the president sweeping authority to order companies to take specific security precautions to protect private networks from possible cyberattacks, including, for example, applying a software patch or blocking incoming traffic from a particular nation.

The 2010 Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act would not authorize a government takeover of corporate networks as previously reported, but would allow the president to declare a national cyber emergency and issue emergency measures when the government believes there's a credible threat to the computer systems that support the nation's critical infrastructure such as banks, transportation systems, telecommunications and utilities.

"If the president feels some part of the critical infrastructure is under attack or about to be under attack, either separately or as part of a conflict [the United States is] involved in, this gives the president the authority to take action," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., during a press conference. Lieberman sponsored the bill with Sens. Thomas Carper, D-Del., and Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Owners of critical networks will be able to propose alternative security measures that address the national cyber emergency if the White House approves. They will receive liability protections to ensure they are not held responsible for any fallout that results from complying with security measures.

Networks supporting critical infrastructure also would have to meet established security standards, according to the bill.

More here.


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