All News & Blogs
Date published: 9/11/2012
WASHINGTON--The Obama administration is preparing an executive order with new rules to protect U.S. computer systems, after Congress failed earlier this summer to pass a cybersecurity bill.
The provisions include voluntary standards for companies, a council run by the Homeland Security Department and new regulations covering especially vital systems, according to a draft of the order obtained by The Associated Press.
But just weeks before the election, the White House risks complaints that President Barack Obama is anti-business from Republicans and the same pro-business groups that killed the legislation on Capitol Hill.
National security officials have warned that electric grids, water plants, banks and other essential industries operated by the private sector are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Yet there are deep divisions over the best approach for keeping hackers and other criminals, foreign governments or terrorist groups from penetrating these systems.
These systems rely heavily on computer networks to remotely control switches, valves and terminals.
Critical infrastructure systems provide services that are part of everyday life.
But an enemy with the proper know-how could cause catastrophic damage and chaos by giving them incorrect commands or infecting them with malicious software. Potential nightmare scenarios include high-speed trains being put on collision courses, blackouts that last days or perhaps even weeks, or chemical plants that inadvertently release deadly gases.
The draft order obtained by the AP said it would seek better digital defenses for critical infrastructure while encouraging economic prosperity and promoting privacy and civil liberties.