On Wednesday, Joe Biden signed an executive order focused on improving the nation's cybersecurity defenses.
The executive order comes on the heels of one of the most high-profile ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the nation. The attack crippled the U.S. East Coast fuel distribution and spurred panic buying and chaos at the pumps.
It came to light on Thursday that Colonial allegedly paid the attackers, an Eastern European threat actor group dubbed DarkSide, $5M for a decrypting tool to restore their systems -- a controversial way out of the ransomware bind. The organization was still forced to use their backups to restore their systems, as the purchased tool moved slower than the organization needed to get back online.
"The Colonial Pipeline incident is a reminder that federal action alone is not enough," the White House said in a subsequent statement. The White House urged private companies to "follow the federal government's lead and take ambitious measures to augment and align cybersecurity investments with the goal of minimizing future incidents."
Immense pressure has been mounting on the U.S. to bolster its cyber defenses and align government and private cybersecurity efforts ever since the SolarWinds attacks in 2020, and the subsequent Microsoft Exchange Server attacks earlier this year.
Many cyber experts felt that the Executive Order was a step in the right direction.
Bill Rucker, President of Trustwave Government Solutions, Trustwave's government arm had this to say about the Executive Order: