President Obama will sign an executive order later today designed to improve sharing of cybersecurity threat information between the federal government and outside companies. It’s a part of the administration’s push to improve the way the U.S. handles threats to digital infrastructure after high-profile attacks against Sony Pictures and Anthem in recent months.
The order calls for companies to create Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations where they can pool data about cybersecurity threats and share that with the federal government. In conjunction with that, the order will direct the Department of Homeland Security to fund the creation of a non-profit organization charged with developing a common set of standards for those organizations.
The formation of those organizations is important, since the order also streamlines the process for Homeland Security – through the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center – to enter into information sharing agreements with ISAOs. In addition, the order gives Homeland Security the ability to authorize sharing of classified threat information with those organizations to better combat threats.
The administration also emphasized that this order is a complement to the legislative proposal that President Obama unveiled earlier this year and called on Congress to pass during his State of the Union address. That legislative solution will likely be a long time coming, if it comes at all – between gridlock in Congress and a lack of support from technology companies, there’s a lot of resistance to a legislative solution at this point.
News of the order comes ahead of President Obama’s address to a cybersecurity summit at Stanford University later this morning. Stay tuned to GeekWire for more coverage of that event.