Washington (US): The outgoing US President Donald Trump on Tuesday amended an executive order to deal with the national emergency related to significant malicious cyber-enabled activities.
The amended order closes a longstanding, critical, security loophole for United States Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) products, one abused by those seeking to harm the US.
IaaS products provide persons with the ability to run software and store data on servers offered for rent or lease without responsibility for the maintenance and operating costs of those servers.
Foreign malicious cyber actors aim to harm the United States economy through the theft of intellectual property and sensitive data and to threaten national security by targeting United States critical infrastructure for malicious cyber-enabled activities, read the White House release.
As per the release, foreign actors use United States IaaS products for a variety of tasks in carrying out malicious cyber-enabled activities, which makes it extremely difficult for United States officials to track and obtain information through the legal process before these foreign actors transition to replacement infrastructure and destroy evidence of their prior activities; foreign resellers of United States IaaS products make it easier for foreign actors to access these products and evade detection.
This order provides authority to impose record-keeping obligations with respect to foreign transactions. To address these threats, to deter foreign malicious cyber actors’ use of United States IaaS products, and to assist in the investigation of transactions involving foreign malicious cyber actors, the United States must ensure that providers offering United States IaaS products verify the identity of persons obtaining an IaaS account (“Account”) for the provision of these products and maintain records of those transactions, read the order.
Further, the United States must encourage more robust cooperation among United States IaaS providers, including by increasing voluntary information sharing, to bolster efforts to thwart the actions of foreign malicious cyber actors, read the release.
The Order, “Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency with Respect to Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,” reduces malign actors’ access to and ability to use United States ICTS products for nefarious purposes,” said Robert C O’ Brien, the National Security Advisor in a US National Security and Defense statement.
“Malign actor abuse of United States IaaS products has played a role in every cyber incident during the last four years, including the actions resulting in the penetrations of United States firms FireEye and Solar Winds,” read the Robert C O’ Brien statement.
Further, he added, “Today’s action by the President is a major step forward in giving our Nation’s network defenders and investigators an advantage in protecting the American people from those wishing to do us harm.”
Also, the text of the order had been sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate for initiating appropriate measures within their authority to implement the provisions of the Executive Order.