Gregg Smith Quoted About US Executive Order on Cyber Security

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In a recent article in The Cyberwire News, Silent Circle CEO Gregg Smith was quoted when asked for a reaction to a long-anticipated Executive Order on cyber security. Mr. Smith had an overall positive reaction to the order, most specifically the emphasis on the need for accountability by agency heads for their organization’s cyber security.

“As is stands today, each agency seems to be going about the management of cybersecurity risk in their own way, which is wasteful given that similar threats and vulnerabilities effect each agency,” said Gregg Smith.

He is somewhat doubtful, however, that the Government can take effective actions in a ninety day timeframe and was disappointed that mobile devices were not specifically addressed in the Executive Order. His reaction to the focus on critical infrastructure and cooperation with international allies was very positive, but believed that the pervasive use of mobile technology across the Government makes “the non-mention a gaping hole.”

The Executive Order contained sections titled “Cybersecurity of Federal Networks,” “Cybersecurity of Critical Infrastructure,” and “Cybersecurity for the Nation” with subsections, all aimed at strengthening the cybersecurity of federal networks and critical infrastructure. The overarching themes appeared to be IT modernization and rationalization, a focus on resilience, and an assertion that going forward, the agency heads of organizations should be held accountable for their own cybersecurity.

The Executive Order mandates the use of the NIST Framework across the Federal Government and places a strong emphasis on implementing sound risk management practices. It also calls for increased cyber deterrent capability. On the whole, reactions from industry experts have been positive, however, many feel that the Executive Order is more ambitious than it is practical or operational. Many experts are also disappointed in the lack of focus on enterprises in the private sector.

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