WikiLeaks inspires new White House cybersecurity policy

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An executive order issued by the White House Oct. 7 tasks agency leadership with tightening security on classified information in order to protect against insider threats, while making classified information more accessible across agencies.

In a statement accompanying the executive order, the White House indicated that the new policies are a response to WikiLeaks' disclosure in November 2010 of more than 90,000 documents, some of which were classified and sensitive.

"Our nation's security requires classified information to be shared immediately with authorized users around the world but also requires sophisticated and vigilant means to ensure it is shared securely," the executive order states.

Under the executive order, agencies must designate a senior official to oversee secured, classified information sharing.

The executive order also emphasizes the need to improve cybersecurity and auditing capabilities across classified networks. The White House asks agencies to implement an insider threat detection and prevention program, and perform self assessments of compliance with policy and standards.

The White House is also standing up an Insider Threat Task Force to develop a governmentwide program for insider threat detection and prevention, according to the executive order. A White House statement said the task force had worked informally since June to help agencies improve policies, processes and technical controls around removable media, online identity management and access controls.

"This effort has been a top priority of the administration and senior agency officials have been actively engaged in developing policies and oversight mechanisms to enhance our national security through responsible sharing and safeguarding of classified information," said the White House statement.

Also providing oversight for the initiative will be the new Classified Information Sharing and Safeguarding Office, which falls within and is subordinate to the Office of Management and Budget's office of the Program Manger for the Information Sharing Environment, according to the executive order.

For more:
- see the executive order
- see the White House fact sheet

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