Efforts to reduce barriers to information sharing in the cyberworld have met with criticism, but some in industry are emphasizing the necessity of swift action.
The effects of Hurricane Sandy on the Northeast coast gave the United States a powerful insight into what happens when critical infrastructure fails in dense population centers. Even with days of warning, thousands of people still find themselves without basic services. Before that superstorm formed, however, security experts were considering the effects of a man-made catastrophe implemented through breaches in cybersecurity that could strike at any time without prior notice, causing even more widespread damage. Leading up to the election, an executive order is pending to try to prevent such an event, but regardless of whom voters elect as their next leader, some in industry are calling for swift action to put preventative measures in place.
Drafted in response to Congress' decision not to pass a cybersecurity act earlier this year, the executive order, if signed, is expected to authorize the Department of Homeland Security to create different information security programs and to facilitate better information sharing among government and private-sector partners involved in cyber activities. Legislators and groups outside government have criticized several aspects of the various efforts to reduce current restrictions that prevent organizations from passing on their knowledge of vulnerabilities or attacks to others who need it, expressing particular concern about violations of citizens’ privacy.