President Barack Obama has today signed an executive order which claims to extend the US administration’s power to respond to malicious cyberattacks and espionage campaigns. Foreign hackers who action attacks against American businesses, institutions and citizens could find themselves fined.
I guess that if they do not pay up then a US copper will show up on another nation state’s soil and if the hacker is not white they will spray him with mace and fill him with more holes than a pasta colander before dragging him off to serve 2000 years in some prison.
Obama in an official statement. “Cyber threats pose one of the most serious economic and national security challenges to the United States, and my Administration is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to confront them.”
“As we have seen in recent months, these threats can emanate from a range of sources and target our critical infrastructure, our companies, and our citizens. This Executive Order offers a targeted tool for countering the most significant cyber threats,” he continued.
The new legislation will enable the secretary of the Treasury, along with the attorney general and secretary of State, to inflict penalties on cybercriminals behind hacking attacks which “create a significant threat to US national security, foreign policy or economic health or financial stability of the United States,” Obama said. Sanctions could include freezing of assets or a total ban on commercial trade.
We guess he does not mean China. After all most US products are made in China and if there is a ban on commercial trade, Apple fanboys will not be able to get the latest iPhone.
It seems that most of the concern is focused on North Korea to discourage it carrying out another Sony attack.
The authorities will be limited to imposing the new sanctions solely in cases where the attacks are considered significant enough to warrant a penalty. Punishable attacks could include malicious security breaches of critical infrastructure, DDoS campaigns against computers and networks, or those that result in the “significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources, trade secrets, personal identifiers, or financial information for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gain,” reads a fact sheet published by the White House.