In mid-October, US President Barack Obama signed a secret directive that would allow federal agencies to address cyber threats against the country’s critical infrastructures in a more aggressive manner.
According to The Washington Post, Presidential Policy Directive 20 establishes a set of standards to guide operations and it makes a clear distinction between network defenses and cyber operations.
“Network defense is what you’re doing inside your own networks. Cyber-operations is stuff outside that space, and recognizing that you could be doing that for what might be called defensive purposes,” an administration official, speaking under the condition of anonymity, said.
A second official told The Post that the directive is a great step forward because it enables authorities to make more effective decisions when the country is attacked.
The new policy is also designed to protect the data and privacy of US citizens and allies. Furthermore, it allows the US to apply international laws of war in case of cyberattacks.