The State of national emergency in the United States has been extended for another year.
For an additional year, President Barack Obama has extended Executive Order 13694, which declares the United States in a condition of national emergency due to an increased risk of cyberattacks.
US Vice President Joe Biden stated that the threat posed by individuals and organizations outside the country is still much alive and well.
"Significant malicious cyber-enabled activities emanating from or directed by persons located entirely or primarily outside the United States continue to pose a strange and extraordinary threat to the United States national security, foreign policy, and economy," the President said in a statement. "As a result, I have determined that it is necessary to maintain the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13694 regarding significant malicious cyber-enabled activities."
According to the United States government, cyberattacks against endpoints belonging to critical infrastructure companies have increased in frequency and sophistication. Different threat actors employ denial of service attacks, data theft, and other forms of criminal activity.
Former United States President Barack Obama declared a state of national emergency on April 1, 2015, in response to reports that individuals known to have coordinated or contributed to cyberattacks against the country had been sanctioned.
A year and a half later, the scope of the executive order was broadened to include malicious attacks aimed to undermine the country’s democratic processes and cyber-attacks.
President Obama said that cybersecurity is one of the most severe national and economic threats our country faces.
The possible impacts of a cyber attack on critical infrastructure or our widely used Federal system have prompted efforts in Washington to compel energy companies and other operators of critical infrastructure to do more to safeguard their computer networks from hackers. According to publicly available information, national security networks have been under attack for years. Some estimates put the number of cyberattacks in the United States at up to 3 billion per year.
Russia possesses advanced capabilities and the intent and technological prowess necessary to launch a cyber-attack anywhere.
Russia has been accused of launching a cyberwar against Estonia in 2007 and taking down government websites due to the attack. In addition, Russia has taken down Georgia’s banking and government websites as part of a strategy to demonstrate its power during a time of conflict.=
Numerous other countries are developing cyber capabilities and using cyber espionage to steal trade and technology secrets from the United States to advance their economic development. All of them pose a threat.
President Biden issued a warning to critical infrastructure providers earlier this month, stating that the government had “evolving intelligence” that Russian cyberattackers were launching attacks in retaliation for the sanctions imposed.
“I encourage our private sector partners to immediately become more tenacious in their cyber defenses. If they have not already done so, and to do so by putting the best practices we’ve developed over the last year,” Biden said.
“The ability to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of critical services and technologies on which Americans rely is in your hands, as is the responsibility to do so.
Everyone must contribute to countering one of the most significant threats of our time — your vigilance and urgency today can help prevent or mitigate attacks tomorrow.”