Trump postpones cyber security executive order

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Trump postpones cyber security executive order

Directive will force departments to beef up security.

US President Donald Trump has postponed signing an executive order that is expected to require the heads of government agencies to play a more direct role in reviewing and managing risks to networks under their control.

Trump, at a White House event with top officials to discuss his order, said his initiative would "hold my cabinet secretaries and agency heads accountable, totally accountable, for the cyber security of their organisations".

"We must defend and protect federal networks," he said.

A signing ceremony was planned for Tuesday afternoon, but an aide said it had been postponed. They did not provide an explanation.

When signed, the order will give the White House budget office a central role in assessing cyber risks for the entire executive branch, and will require agency heads to develop plans to modernise ageing IT systems, a White House official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Washington Post published a draft of the order yesterday, which revealed a 60-day timeline for conducting a federal assessment of the vulnerabilities in national infrastructure and systems.

According to the draft, this assessment will be chaired by secretary of defense James Mattis and secretary of homeland security John Kelly.

The draft also calls for an assessment of the USA's cyber adversaries within 60 days, and of the resources and capabilities available to the defense and homeland security departments, as well as the NSA.

It also outlines plans for a report on how to incentivise the private sector to be more secure, and another to assess how well American students are being educated in IT, maths, and cyber security.

IT security breaches featured in the run-up to the Nov. 8 election, most notably with the hacking and leaking of Democratic National Committee emails. Trump said hackers tried to penetrate the Republican National Committee as well but that they failed.

Trump vowed his administration will work with the private sector to ensure owners and operators of critical infrastructure have the support they need from the federal government to guard against cyber threats.

Trump also said he would take steps to ensure cyber security is central to the US military.

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