Tags: cybersecurity | executive order | trump

Trump's Pending Cybersecurity Order a Likely Slamdunk

Trump's Pending Cybersecurity Order a Likely Slamdunk

President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the beginning of a meeting with his staff and government cyber security experts in the Roosevelt Room at the White House January 31, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Friday, 03 February 2017 01:03 PM Current | Bio | Archive

After a frenzy of executive orders designed to excite avid campaign supporters — with the unintended (or perhaps intended) consequences of freaking out several world leaders and about half of the voting-age population of the United States — the 45th president is learning the hard way that there is only so far the leader of the free world can go toward making America great again without recourse to the checks and balances that make America unique.

Among those orders, there have been the obvious crowd-pleasers for Mr. Trump’s base — an extension of his victory tour, really — like the decree that whenever a new regulation is introduced, two old ones must be abolished and, of course, there was the memorandum giving the Secretary of Defense 30 days to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS.

There have been controversial ones like the 120-day suspension of America’s refugee program and a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. for citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan that sparked protests around the globe, two orders reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and the reinstatement of the Reagan-era ban (subsequently quashed by President Clinton, reinstated by President Bush, killed yet again by President Obama) on the allocation of federal funds to international groups that perform, lobby to legalize, or promote abortion.

To be fair, almost everyone — even Senators Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken — must have been happy when Mr. Trump made good on his promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Then there’s the executive order on cybersecurity.

As cyber war has replaced the Cold War, any progress we can make on better protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure, public and private institutions, and the American people against cyber aggression is definitely something upon which even the most polarized constituencies can agree.

It almost goes without saying that improving cybersecurity will require a tremendous amount of inter-agency consultation, cooperation and coordination, something that has been painfully absent from Mr. Trump’s post-inauguration executive order fest.

So, with a delay and too-much drumroll, it’s with bated breath that the cybersecurity community awaits Mr. Trump’s executive order on protecting the nation from the myriad threats and dangers we currently face.

Delayed, But It Might Be the Best One

This is all too clear for anyone who follows cybersecurity. Inter-agency cooperation — and more importantly coordination — has been sorely lacking in our nation’s approach to cybersecurity.

"I will hold my Cabinet secretaries and agency heads accountable, totally accountable for the cybersecurity of their organizations," President Trump said during a recent “listening session” in the Roosevelt Room.

It was both a powerful and a welcome statement, but then the cyber order was delayed immediately afterward with an announcement that it would be signed later in the week with not a whisper as to why — though it seems like the delay may be due to some information notably missing in the statement, such as the role law enforcement will play. (The earlier unsigned draft that was leaked made no mention of the FBI or any other major law enforcement agency.)

Given the extremely negative and highly emotional reception to the first wave of executive orders — the travel ban in particular — I completely understand the desire to not rush things, but if the TPP withdrawal was a bipartisan win — or at least a Bernie-Breitbart one — the executive order on cybersecurity should be a slamdunk of the most robust and unstoppable spinning, in-your-face-flying-hook shot variety.

Here’s What You Need to Know

The Trump doctrine here seeks to centralize the cybersecurity effort.

One particularly interesting aspect of the order seems to move the ball down the court from a promising position taken by the previous administration (by far the most aggressive in terms of cybersecurity), which found that our nation would need 100,000 cybersecurity specialists and hackers trained and ready to work on protecting our nation from cyber threats by 2020.

Leaving aside that we probably need a significantly larger cyber force than 100,000, the current administration’s draft position admirably sets out “to understand the full scope of U.S. efforts to educate and train the workforce of the future.”

As I argue in my book, "Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers and Identity Thieves," consumer education (and training) is central to making America cyber-great (for the first time). I’ve long believed that the most important thing our government can do during this era of global, overarching cyber insecurity is to apprise its citizenry of the threats so that it becomes a form of patriotism for individuals to take responsibility for minimizing those threats by practicing good digital hygiene.

Making America cyber safe is both a shared and individual responsibility and education is a critical component of that effort , which is why I think it’s a good move to require, as the Trump memo does, the Department of Education to share information with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security regarding the information children are learning about computer science, mathematics, and cybersecurity.

I’m glad the Trump administration decided to hold off on their cybersecurity plans for the time being. This is something worth further discussion before we as a nation are so far behind the eight ball that a 400-pound hacker sitting on a mattress in his mother’s basement could literally start World War III.

Adam K. Levin is a consumer advocate with more than 30 years of experience and is a nationally recognized expert on security, privacy, identity theft, fraud, and personal finance. A former Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Levin is chairman and founder of CyberScout and co-founder of Credit.com. Levin is the author of Amazon Best Seller "Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves." Read more of his reports — Go Here Now.

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The executive order on cybersecurity should be a slamdunk for Trump.
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Friday, 03 February 2017 01:03 PM
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