President Issues National Security Directive On Cyber Operations To Defend Government Networks; Executive Order Still Pending

Author:Mr Stephen Spina and J. Daniel Skees
Profession:Morgan Lewis

According to news reports, President Obama has signed a directive to guide the actions of federal agencies in responding to cyber threats that explicitly permits actions outside government networks. President Policy Directive 20, which is not publicly available, reportedly directs agencies to take no more aggressive action than is necessary to address a threat. Under certain circumstances, however, the directive would permit the use of actions directed outside government networks—called "cyber operations"—but only for defensive purposes.

Traditional network defense strategies confined to government networks should continue to be the first response to cyber attacks, accompanied by outreach to law enforcement officials as needed. However, reports suggest that the presidential directive would permit defensive cyber actions outside government networks...

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