The Obama Administration on Wednesday released a report detailing new Administration measures to protect U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property.
The report: “Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets” (PDF) establishes a new foundation for cooperation between the U.S. government and the private sector. It comes just days after a bombshell, 60-page report by the security firm Mandiant that described the activities of “APT1” – a hacking group that Mandiant claims is actually a cyber warfare unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
In a post on the Whitehouse blog, the Administration said the Strategy is a continuation of Obama Administration policy to protect U.S. companies from the theft of trade secrets. Under the new Strategy, the Administration will take a “whole government” approach, using diplomatic pressure via the State Department, coordinated, international legal pressure through the Department of Justice and FBI. The U.S. will tap the U.S. intelligence community to provide warnings and threat assessments about risks to private sector partners.
Incidents of cyber espionage, like the recent hack of The New York Times and other, leading U.S. papers will result in “coordinated and sustained messages from the most senior levels of the Administration.”
The latest release follows the President’s Executive Order to secure cyberspace, which encouraged government agencies to share data on cyber attacks with each other and with the private sector. I also follows a string of high profile attacks on U.S. companies. Recent weeks brought news of targeted attacks affecting Facebook, Twitter and Apple. There was also news about a four month long hack of The New York Times. The Washington Post says that a hack of its network lasted more than two years following a 2009 spear phishing attack, and could have exposed the work of confidential sources in China and other countries.
But more government involvement in cyber security may not be the fix. A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that U.S. government systems remain highly vulnerable to cyber attack, despite 10 separate cyber security plans and strategies in the last 13 years.