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The new cybersecurity mandate | CSO Online

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The increasing importance of cybersecurity was underlined in President Biden’s  of May 12, 2021. This focus has been reiterated, and even more emphatically described in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

A surprising conclusion from these governmental missives is that in the high-tech world of cybersecurity, the core challenge is not advanced cryptological methods nor quantum computing, but simply implementing known best practices in the real world.

I’ll bet you never thought you’d see a president issue an executive order describing how to handle logging, but that day has come.  Let’s take a look at what the highest levels of government are calling for in cybersecurity.

Act Now to Protect Against Potential Cyberattacks

The White House issued a Fact Sheet on March 21, 2022 containing a summary of cyber security actions, called Act Now to Protect Against Potential Cyberattacks. This document begins by highlighting the danger posed by Russia-based threat actors, referring to live intelligence indicating these threats are very real.  Indeed, this warning seems to be coming true.

The fact sheet describes the efforts to harden critical infrastructure like water and gas and to unify the international community in combating cybercrime like ransomware.  It then goes on to acknowledge that the preponderance of critical infrastructure in the US is “ owned and operated by the private sector,” rather than government.  It directs people to CISA’s Shield’s Up page, a kind of clearinghouse of information on mitigating cyberattacks.  Finally, it undertakes to outline the steps organizations should take.

The suggestions range from the specific, like using multi-factor authentication, to the near-philosophical, like making security something you “bake in, not bolt on.”  The overall message on the practical side is admirably comprehensible and approachable, especially when you consider the collision of bureaucracy and technology.  Its recommendations could be summarized as:

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