Cracking down on cyberattacks

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During Biden’s first six months in office, government agencies and critical companies were beset by cyberattacks. These incidents included the SolarWinds hack, which involved Russian government hackers infiltrating around a dozen agencies for at least a year. Ransomware attacks were also a major source of concern, with the administration forced to reckon with Colonial Pipeline, the source of almost half of the East Coast’s fuel supply, shutting down operations in May 2021. In the years since, cybersecurity concerns have only increased, including a Chinese-linked breach last year that impacted email accounts at the Commerce and State departments, skyrocketing new vulnerabilities opened up by the use of artificial intelligence technologies, and new geopolitical-linked targeting of critical systems.

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Article Contents

The move

In March 2023, the White House released a national cyber strategy, the first since 2018. The strategy has five pillars including strengthening international cyber diplomacy efforts, securing emerging critical technologies and taking more aggressive steps to disrupt hacking groups. The strategy also made clear that the Biden administration intends to take a strong approach to issuing new regulations for critical sectors, for example health care or electricity.

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The impact

The strategy outlined the goals and established a path for the federal government to reduce the threat of cyberattacks; when paired with an implementation plan for the strategy released in July, there are now firm agenda items for enhancing security.

The upshot

While cyberattacks have not slowed down since the release of the strategy, the federal government now has a solid road map for the years to come on how to respond to attacks. However, if Biden is not reelected next year, a new administration may seek to change the goals of the strategy, or even put out a new one.



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