In case you missed it, President Obama wrote an extraordinary editorial that appeared in last Friday’s Wall Street Journal, focusing on cyber security threats on America’s infrastructure.
The article begins by describing a simulation of multiple cyber security threats focused on deploying malware on critical systems that operate transportation, water and other infrastructure systems with the intent to harm the country.
He went on to note that no successful cyber attacks on critical infrastructure have occurred to date, but also reminded us about several near misses. One example he cited was a Texas water plant that had to disconnect its control system from the Internet after a cybercriminal posted photos of the facility’s internal controls.
The President pushes in this piece for comprehensive cyber security legislation that fosters information sharing among government bodies and private industry to ensure better preparedness, as well as to encourage companies to report cyber security risks without the threat of liability.
His most important point, in my opinion, points to forcing companies that lack even the most basic protection — a strong password — to significantly boost their cyber security defenses. These companies pose a threat to themselves, the citizens they serve, and other companies that are their vendors, partners and/or customers. These companies need to take security and cyber security threats seriously, and they should undergo a robust IT cyber security assessment to learn about their open vulnerabilities.
By encouraging a public-private partnership, President Obama writes that defining cyber security standards will foster a society and culture that values free enterprise and the rights of the individual. Indeed, enhancing cyber security protects the rights of businesses to ply their trades as well as individuals to communicate and interact over the Internet. He notes that companies would have the flexibility to determine how they would meet national cyber security standards, “using the wide range of innovative products and services available in the marketplace”. I think he mentioned Avatier in his original draft of the editorial, but his staff had him remove it…
Identity and access management is at the forefront of the cyber security solutions President Obama writes about. Allowing only authorized users and prohibiting unauthorized users from entering a network reduces many cyber security risks from occurring and is a simple way to boost a company’s cyber defenses immediately. Efficiently deploying these systems to operate almost invisibly behind the scenes within a company’s network helps ensure employees remain as productive as possible as well.
Please take a few minutes to read the President’s editorial if you haven’t already, and if you’re so inclined, contact your local Congressman and Senator, encouraging them to support his cyber security legislation.
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