Walden Urges President to Rethink Issuing Cybersecurity Executive Order


Along with other House and Senate technology leaders, including Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Fred Upton, Walden writes: “(W)e cannot afford a hasty, unilateral action that will only serve to bolster the efforts of less democratic nations to stifle the very free exchange of ideas and expression that has allowed the Internet to flourish across the globe.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) joined other technology leaders in the U.S. House of Representative and U.S. Senate last week in urging President Barack Obama to refrain from issuing an executive order regulating the Internet in the name of cybersecurity.

The members expressed concern that using executive power to regulate the Internet would bolster the arguments being made by nations such as Russia, China, and Iran that are seeking global government control and undermine the United States’ position to continue the current worldwide model which has allowed the Internet to flourish. Both the House and Senate have unanimously approved resolutions that oppose such attempts to exert regulatory control over the Internet. The bicameral leaders are also concerned that a top-down approach to cybersecurity will slow the response and impose unnecessary costs on the economy.

The members wrote, “Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress and on both sides of the aisle agree that cybersecurity is of critical importance to America’s safety and prosperity in the 21st century. The House of Representatives has already passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) to bring the nation’s considerable wealth of public and private sector intelligence to bear on the challenge of securing America’s vital communications networks. A number of proposals continue to be debated in the Senate. The United States has been a beacon of online freedom. Unilateral action altering oversight of the Internet in this country could be interpreted by the rest of the world as a statement of ‘do as I say, not as I do.’

“While we have not seen your proposed executive order, multiple reports suggest that it would authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine what constitutes ‘critical infrastructure,’ and then adopt certain standards for how such infrastructure is managed to guard against cyberthreats. This is the wrong approach…”

The members concluded, “An executive order exerting influence over critical infrastructure is not just a step in the wrong substantive direction. It will almost certainly be exploited by other nations to justify their efforts to regulate the Internet. This is a most critical time, and we cannot afford a hasty, unilateral action that will only serve to bolster the efforts of less democratic nations to stifle the very free exchange of ideas and expression that has allowed the Internet to flourish across the globe. For these reasons, we urge you to rethink the wisdom of an executive order.”

Rep. Walden is chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. The telecommunications industry supports about 50,000 jobs in Oregon, including nearly 10,000 in Oregon‘s Second District. This week, Rep. Walden held cybersecurity workshops in Bend and Medford with leading expert Bill Conner, CEO of Entrust.


Is Your Business Protected?


The internet proves a great tool for small business success, but with this benefit the need to protect against growing cyber threat increases. As larger businesses continue to up their cybersecurity, small and medium size businesses become the easier targets for cyber criminals.

The National Broadband Plan estimates that 97 percent of small businesses use email and 74 percent have a company website. With applications for smart phones, tablets and overall web access from almost every favorite hot-spot in town, doing business outside the office continues to grow, making it easier for business information to be stolen. Cybertheft can range from draining bank accounts to sealing vital intellectual properties.

Congressman Greg Walden with Entrust President and CEO Bill Conner addressed the cybersecurity threats to business owners at the Central Oregon Cybersecurity Workshop last week. “Communication technology is a vital part of our lives,” Congressman Walden said. Due to businesses taking more part online, cybercrimes have dramatically increased. They come in many forms; some mere nuisances while others are insidious threats that can track and even extract information.

Consumers need to know the steps to keep their information safe. Perfect online security is unattainable, but it is important for businesses to protect themselves as much as possible. Common online risks that lead a business to becoming victims of cybercrime can be eliminated.

“Cybersecurity is a quality process that must be started, continually maintained and monitored,” said Conner. He states there is no clear law or legislation to protect you as a company, that it comes back to what you are doing on your business systems. “The key to security is if you didn’t go looking for it, don’t install it.”

Conner continued to say that online financial transactions are what is being targeted. This is where the fraud is for corporations, and the landscape of criminals has shifted from kids in their basements wanting bragging rights from their friends to criminal syndicates.

Companies need a range of strategies to be prepared for different unknown attacks. It makes sense to create layers of protection between your business and the malicious technology that is written everyday. Latest reports state that attacks hit everywhere, from large corporations to small businesses, rotating between to keep from being caught.

Some security steps that could be taken are:

Basic User Training to Protect Your Business. Cybersecurity education for employees can be found online and vary on business activity. These are training tools that can help employers and employees understand how to properly use business systems to reduce the risk of cybecrimes.

Ensure Systems Are Protected. Use layers of security software and run scans on the systems frequently. Routinely run maintenance checks, anti-virus, spyware and malware scans for security breaches. Don’t use the same computers that you do bank transfers on to do your web surfing or social media. Caution is even given against having USBs.

Manage Mobile Access. Secure your mobile device at the devices security level. It is said that applications are going to dwarf human activities in the next five years, allowing more access to cyber criminal activity.

Ask Financial Institutions How You Are Protected if a Victim of Fraud. Get the information beforehand to protect your business. Reclaiming lost revenue is harder than protecting it from the start.

Have Multiple Defenses. One is not enough. Make sure all your systems have multiple protection application against cybertheft. Utilize your system’s firewall safeguards along with these applications to scan and protect against malicious activity.

Because online financial transactions are being targeted the most, and banks can only offer a business so much protection, it is important to take responsibility to protect yourself and your business.

Malware attacks are hidden even on legitimate websites. One report states one in five searches lead you to a contaminated site. And with technology increasing at such a rapid pace, the act of cybersecurity is turning into a daily must.


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