Week ahead: Cyber experts look for clues on Trump order

Week ahead: Cyber experts look for clues on Trump order
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The Trump administration is facing growing questions over a possible executive order on cybersecurity, including when it will be ready or if it's coming at all.

The first inkling of an executive order on cybersecurity was the last week of January, when the Washington Post published a purported draft. That document called for a series of audits of government cyber readiness, including of workforce recruitment strategies and the threat from potential adversaries.

The White House then announced plans for an executive order, but briefed the press on a far more substantive plan, which President Trump was expected to sign on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, though, the White House announced a delay and scrapped the signing. They provided no details on when it would be ready or signed.

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The more comprehensive order discussed with reporters would have given the Office of Management and Budget a new role evaluating cybersecurity risks, akin to a corporate chief risk officer, but for all federal agencies.

It would have also required all agencies to abide by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework. The Commerce Department shop which focuses on defining technical standards, developed a flexible approach to cyber defense strategies.

And the order would have required federal agencies to modernize their IT infrastructure, something that would both save money and increase security.

The abrupt cancellation now has cybersecurity experts wondering what the final order will look like, and if there will be one at all.

The Trump administration was also slated to sign an executive order probing alleged voter fraud in the election, which was also put off indefinitely.

For now, cybersecurity experts are looking for any hints on the administration's expected plans.

Expect more talk about Russia in the coming week, as well.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding a hearing on the U.S. relationship with Russia on Thursday. The hearing will take place against the ever-present backdrop of Russian hacking in the 2016 election.

Also in focus will be a new wave of violence in Ukraine, reportedly by Russian-backed rebels. The new fighting prompted Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore GOP strategist: 'There needs to be a repudiation' of Roy Moore by Republicans World leaders reach agreement on trade deal without United States: report MORE to call for sending lethal weapons to Ukraine.

The tensions over Russia are evident in Washington.

A routine House Oversight Committee hearing on Tuesday turned into a shouting match over whether the panel should also investigate Russian interference in the election.

And a Treasury Department edict to allow U.S. tech companies to ship to Russia with permission of the FSB was initially misinterpreted as the Trump administration lifting some sanctions on Russia. 

 

Links:

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Senate subcommittee to launch Russian interference probe

Treasury amends Russian sanctions to allow US tech exports

Shouting match over Russia erupts at House hearing

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