On July 28, 2021, President Biden signed a memorandum to modernize defenses in industrial control systems (ICS) that command and direct manufacturing, product handling, production, distribution and related data acquisition.
Why does it matter? The Biden administration committed to take concrete action soon after Americans saw how easy it was for hackers to threaten essential services like gas and food in May 2021. It immediately required pipeline owners and operators to implement urgently needed protections, spelled out in two directives from the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration.
With the July 28 memo, President Biden signals future action on other priority critical infrastructure sectors such as water, wastewater and chemicals.
This is a matter of trust. American people should be able to count on services to be safe and reliable. And they should be able to trust that critical infrastructure — in government and in the private sector — can stand up to 24/7 cybersecurity threats.
What’s in the memo?
Biden’s “National Security Memorandum on Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems” engages the private sector to harden defenses in two ways: