Biden 'confident' in the nation's cybersecurity efforts as Cybersecurity Awareness Month begins

Biden 'confident' in the nation's cybersecurity efforts as Cybersecurity Awareness Month begins
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President Biden on Friday expressed confidence in measures taken by his administration during his first months in office to secure the nation against mounting cyber threats as Cybersecurity Awareness Month kicks off.

October has served as Cybersecurity Awareness Month since its inception during the George W. Bush administration, with Biden highlighting the month in a statement Friday after several major cybersecurity incidents in recent months. 

“Cyber threats can affect every American, every business regardless of size, and every community,” Biden said in his statement. “That’s why my administration is marshalling a whole-of-nation effort to confront cyber threats.

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“This October, even as we recognize how much work remains to be done and that maintaining strong cybersecurity practices is ongoing work, I am confident that the advancements we have put in place during the first months of my Administration will enable us to build back better – modernizing our defenses and securing the technology on which our enduring prosperity and our security rely,” he added.

Biden on Thursday signed a proclamation declaring October Cybersecurity Awareness Month, with the proclamation pointing to recent security incidents in calling on the American public to “take action to better protect yourselves against cyber threats.”

These incidents included the SolarWinds hack, discovered just prior to Biden taking office in January, which allowed Russian government-linked hackers to compromise numerous federal agencies and more than 100 private sector groups.

The Biden administration has also been forced to grapple with a spike in ransomware attacks against critical U.S. groups, such as hospitals and schools, but most notably those against Colonial Pipeline, meat producer JBS USA, and IT group Kaseya over the summer. 

In response, Biden levied sanctions against Russia in April for its involvement in the SolarWinds hack, and the U.S. and several allied nations publicly called out hackers affiliated with the Chinese government for the Microsoft Exchange Server hack that left tens of thousands of organizations vulnerable to compromise earlier this year.

Biden also signed an executive order in May aimed at shoring up federal cybersecurity, and kicked off a 100-day plan to secure the electricity sector that as of Friday had resulted in 150 utilities serving 90 million Americans committing to strengthen their cybersecurity. 

“I am committed to strengthening our cybersecurity by hardening our critical infrastructure against cyberattacks, disrupting ransomware networks, working to establish and promote clear rules of the road for all nations in cyberspace, and making clear we will hold accountable those that threaten our security,” Biden said Friday.