President Barack Obama aims to fight cyberattacks with economic sanctions in a new executive order.
Today the president signed an executive order that authorizes the use of sanctions against entities that steal private information of U.S. citizens or businesses using malicious software and other cyber tactics. The new order was announced in a blog post:
Starting today, we’re giving notice to those who pose significant threats to our security or economy by damaging our critical infrastructure, disrupting or hijacking our computer networks, or stealing the trade secrets of American companies or the personal information of American citizens for profit. From now on, we have the power to freeze their assets, make it harder for them to do business with U.S. companies, and limit their ability to profit from their misdeeds.
The president specifically references the cyberattack on Sony Pictures, which is believed to have originated out of South Korea. He also acknowledges the numerous U.S. banks and businesses that were attacked in 2014, which made it another banner year for cyber hacks.
Even though some of those attacks came from local hackers, President Obama’s order targets foreign intruders, which mostly serves as a warning to bad actors overseas.
The new order comes on the heels of an earlier cyber security action the president took in early February. That executive order, signed during the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, encouraged businesses to work together and share information about cyber threats in order to build better defenses against hackers, who regularly collaborate.