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Biden Administration Pushes for Cybersecurity Baselines in Critical Infrastructure Sectors

The White House

Biden Administration Pushes for Cybersecurity Baselines in Critical Infrastructure Sectors

The White House has released a memo pushing government agencies and the private sector to enhance critical infrastructure cybersecurity.

President Joe Biden directed the Department of Homeland Security to work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish baseline cybersecurity goals and practices for critical infrastructure operators.

According to the White House, such baselines are necessary despite the varying cybersecurity needs and practices across the affected sectors.

The DHS director must issue preliminary goals no later than Sept. 22. The government will issue the final cross-sector goals within one year of the memo’s publication.

In accomplishing the task, the director may also examine whether or not the government should establish additional authorities responsible for enhancing the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure.

DHS defines critical infrastructure sectors as those whose assets, systems and networks are essential for security, national economic security or national public health and safety, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

The list currently includes the chemical; commercial facilities; communications; critical manufacturing; dams; defense industrial base; energy; financial services; food and agriculture; government facilities; health care and public health; information technology; nuclear reactors, materials and waste; transportation systems; and water and wastewater systems sectors.

Biden’s memo also directed federal government agencies to collaborate with the private sector in deploying systems and technologies that can monitor industrial control systems, which are integrated hardware and software designed to control machines and devices in industrial environments.

Work will begin with a pilot project in the electricity sector. Future efforts will involve the natural gas pipelines, water and wastewater systems and chemical sectors.

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Category: Cybersecurity