White House unveils cybersecurity guidelines for companies

The White House has released guidelines aimed at prodding companies that run some of the nation’s most essential services such as utilities, cellphone towers and banks to better protect themselves from cyberattacks. Officials said the guidelines, developed under an executive order that President Obama signed a year ago, provide companies overseeing the nation’s crucial infrastructure with a blueprint for identifying potential threats, protecting themselves from cyberattacks and, if an attack occurs, recovering from it.

The Obama administration unveiled Wednesday a long-awaited plan for bolstering the cybersecurity of critical-infrastructure providers — including big information technology and communications companies — and is gearing up to try to enlist smaller Silicon Valley shops in its battle against hackers. Top officials at the White House presented the so-called Cybersecurity Framework, a 39-page plan for the federal government and critical-infrastructure providers (both private and public) to share more data with each other about cyber threats. It was spurred by anexecutive order that President Obama signed in February 2013 calling for the National Institute of Standards and Technology and private firms to craft a voluntary framework for thwarting cyber attacks from nefarious hackers and nation states.

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