President Obama Signs Cyber Security Directive

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The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima reports that President Obama has signed a secret directive intended to enable the military to respond more aggressively to cyber attacks.

"Presidential Policy Directive 20 establishes a broad and strict set of standards to guide the operations of federal agencies in confronting threats in cyberspace, according to several U.S. officials who have seen the classified document and are not authorized to speak on the record," Nakashima writes. "The president signed it in mid-October."

"A senior administrative official told the Washington Post that it will deal specifically with the issue of defensive measures, or protecting the government and citizens from being hacked, and offensive measures, how the U.S. should act when pushing back," writes VentureBeat's Meghan Kelly.

"The policy reportedly includes privacy and data security safeguards for U.S. citizens and foreign allies, and also requires that any actions comply with international laws of war," writes InformationWeek's Mathew J. Schwartz. "Ultimately, the policy ... is meant to make clear exactly what can and cannot be done."

"Policy Directive 20 is a refresh of a presidential directive signed during the Bush administration and falls in line with the Obama administration’s concerns regarding internet-based threats to the nation’s infrastructure," writes Betabeat's Steve Huff.

"James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the directive lays out a chain of command and establishes thresholds for action," writes Reuters' Jim Wolf. "'I don't see why the whole thing has to be secret, though,' Lewis said."

"The directive is separate from an executive order the Obama administration is considering to implement elements of stalled Senate legislation that would set voluntary cybersecurity standards for private-sector infrastructure such as power grids and chemical plants considered essential to national security," notes Businessweek's Eric Engleman.

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