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White House NIAC Calls for Separate Comms Systems for Critical Cyber Networks

The White House National Infrastructure Advisory Council has called on the federal government to develop separate communications systems for critical cyber networks.

NIAC said in an August report such systems may include “dark fiber” networks and a reserved electromagnetic spectrum that will work to allow electric utilities and other critical infrastructure to communicate in case of emergencies.

NIAC made the recommendations after it assessed a dataset of at least 140 federal authorities and capabilities that seek to protect high-risk assets from cyber attacks.

The council also called on federal agencies such as the departments of Energy and Homeland Security to launch a pilot program led by the private sector to test systems designed to facilitate sharing of data on cyber threats as well as advance the capabilities of cyber workforce through sponsorship of a public-private exchange program for cyber professionals.

The government should also determine scanning platforms and assessment practices, streamline the security clearance process and establish a set of outcome-based market incentives in an effort to encourage critical infrastructure operators to update their cyber capabilities.

Other recommendations from NIAC include the declassification of cyber threat data; formation of a task force of government and industry experts to facilitate the decision-making process on the country’s cyber requirements; and implementation of the national-level GridEx IV exercise to assess the execution of federal capabilities and authorities in the event of a cyber attack.

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