The president Donald Trump is now extending by special powers introduced by the former President Barack Obama by one year which allow the government to issue various sanctions against people and organisations which engaged in significant cyber crime and cyber attacks against the U.S.
The executive Order 13694 was introduced on April 1, 2015, and it was due to expire on this Saturday, but the president sent a letter to the Congress on Wednesday evening saying that he plans to keep that order active.
“A significant number of malicious cyber-enabled activities originating from, and/or directed by persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside United States, continue to pose an extraordinary threat to the national security, economy, and foreign policy of the United States,” President Trump wrote in the letter. “Therefore, I have determined that it is very necessary to continue national emergency declared in Executive Order 13694 regarding significant malicious cyber-enabled activities.”
Executive order gave U.S. some new powers to retaliate for the hacking of critical infrastructure, major DDoS attacks or large-scale economic hacking.
It was expanded in December 2016 to include election-related systems and used to sanction Russian agents and organisations for their alleged role in a series of attacks during the presidential election.
In that action, Obama named the Russian military intelligence agency, the federal security service, and the GRU, the FSU, as responsible for the election-related attacks. It also named three organisations and four Russian individuals for their alleged role.
The extension of the executive order is one of the first actions Trump has taken publicly that addresses cybersecurity. In February, he had been due to sign an executive order that addressed the issue but it was cancelled at the last minute.
But, after meeting with some of his national security staff and representatives from the National Security Agency, the order was never signed.