The Biden Administration has asked the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish a new cybersecurity framework to guide organizations in both the private and public sectors.
It is the latest sign of the Administration’s focus on cybersecurity after high-profile hacking events including the SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline security breaches. In May of this year, President Biden signed an executive order mandating federal agencies to implement multi-factor authentication and encryption within a 180-day timeframe; the move was praised by the FIDO Alliance, which has long championed 2FA and MFA security.
According to a Fact Sheet issued by the White House this week, the NIST was asked to develop the new cybersecurity framework in consultation with “industry and other partners”. Google, Microsoft, IBM, Coalition, and Travelers have already agreed to work with the NIST on this project, which is broadly aimed at helping organizations to “build secure technology and assess the security of technology,” according to the Fact Sheet.
In a separate but related endeavor, Apple committed to working with its vast network of suppliers to encourage the adoption of security mechanisms including multi-factor authentication after meeting with White House officials. Amazon, meanwhile, committed to making a multi-factor authentication device available to all Amazon Web Services account holders.
Looking to the gas pipeline sector in particular in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, the White House is pushing operators to implement technologies that “provide threat visibility, indications, detection, and warnings,” according to a NextGov report.
It is not yet clear which specific technologies will be in focus for the companies working with the Biden Administration on these cybersecurity efforts, but it’s worth noting that Google, Apple, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft have all displayed interest in biometric security in their respective business activities. Earlier this year, for example, Microsoft announced partnerships with companies including Acuant, AU10TIX, IDEMIA, Jumio, Onfido, Socure, and Vu that would effectively make face-based authentication a key component of its Azure AD Verifiable Credentials program.
The White House announcement comes shortly after President Biden’s nomination of Laurie E. Locascio as the new head of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Locascio is currently the Vice President of Research at the University of Maryland, and has previously served in multiple positions at the NIST.
August 30, 2021 – by Alex Perala