US government’s bold move against the growing threat of cyber attacks.
Recently, the US government published an Executive Order stating about the shift in cyber security strategy they will initiate. After facing numerous attacks in recent years, the need to upgrade and have a robust security system in place has been finally taken into limelight. The strategy states that the federal government will now move towards a robust Zero-Trust Cybersecurity strategy.
Let’s take a look at what the Executive Order stated:
In the current threat environment, the Federal Government can no longer depend on conventional perimeter-based defenses to protect critical systems and data. As President Biden stated in EO 14028, “Incremental improvements will not give us the security we need; instead, the Federal Government needs to make bold changes and significant investments in order to defend the vital institutions that underpin the American way of life.”
A transition to a “zero trust” approach to security provides a defensible architecture for this new environment. As described in the Department of Defense Zero Trust Reference Architecture,
“The foundational tenet of the Zero Trust Model is that no actor, system, network, or service operating outside or within the security perimeter is trusted. Instead, we must verify anything and everything attempting to establish access. It is a dramatic paradigm shift in philosophy of how we secure our infrastructure, networks, and data, from verify once at the perimeter to continual verification of each user, device, application, and transaction.”
This strategy envisions a Federal Government where:
- Federal staff have enterprise-managed accounts, allowing them to access everything they need to do their job while remaining reliably protected from even targeted, sophisticated phishing attacks.
- The devices that Federal staff use to do their jobs are consistently tracked and monitored, and the security posture of those devices is taken into account when granting access to internal resources.
- Agency systems are isolated from each other, and the network traffic flowing between and within them is reliably encrypted.
- Enterprise applications are tested internally and externally, and can be made available to staff securely over the internet.
- Federal security teams and data teams work together to develop data categories and security rules to automatically detect and ultimately block unauthorized access to sensitive information.
This strategy places significant emphasis on stronger enterprise identity and access controls, including multi-factor authentication (MFA). Without secure, enterprise-managed identity systems, adversaries can take over user accounts and gain a foothold in an agency to steal data or launch attacks. This strategy sets a new baseline for access controls across the Government that prioritizes defense against sophisticated phishing, and directs agencies to consolidate identity systems so that protections and monitoring can be consistently applied. Tightening access controls will require agencies to leverage data from different sources to make intelligent decisions, such as analyzing device and user information to assess the security posture of all activity on agency systems.
The decision to implement Zero Trust will undoubtedly benefit the government and boost security. The implementation process will be difficult, and it will take some time to completely transition to Zero Trust. According to the federal government, everything will be transferred and positioned by fiscal year 2024.
Hope this guide helps you understand about the US government’s decision to move towards Zero trust security and how it will help enhance and tighten their security.
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