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New Commerce Proposal Suggests Policy to Boost Cybersecurity for E-Commerce

New Commerce Proposal Suggests Policy to Boost Cybersecurity for E-Commerce - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Gary Locke, Commerce Department
New Commerce Proposal Suggests Policy to Boost Cybersecurity for E-Commerce - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Gary Locke, Commerce Department

The Commerce Department today released a report that proposes voluntary codes of conduct to bolster the cybersecurity of companies that increasingly rely on the Internet to do business, but are not part of the critical infrastructure sector.

The report, Cybersecurity, Innovation and the Internet Economy, focuses on the “Internet and Information Innovation Sector“ (I3S), which includes small and medium-sized businesses with online services, social networking sites, Internet-only businesses and cloud-computing firms.

“Our economy depends on the ability of companies to provide trusted, secure services online,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a release. “As new cybersecurity threats evolve, it's critical that we develop policies that better protect businesses and their customers to ensure the Internet remains an engine for economic growth.”

By increasing the adoption of standards and best practices, Locke said, government is working with industry to promote innovation and business growth, while simultaneously better protecting companies and consumers from hackers and cyber theft.

The report stresses the economic importance of boosting cyber defenses and preserving consumer trust in the Internet. As e-commerce increases, so does the threat of cyber attacks. The number of malware threats reportedly doubled between January 2009 and December 2010. In 2010, nearly 55,000 new viruses, worms, spyware and other threats were unleashed on the Internet.

“Addressing these issues in a way that protects the tremendous economic and social value of the Internet, without stifling innovation, requires a fresh look at Internet policy,” Locke writes in the  report. “For this reason, in April 2010, I launched an Internet Policy Task Force, which brings together the technical, policy, trade, and legal expertise of the entire department.”

The report lists IPTF’s proposals for reducing I3S vulnerabilities, including:

  • Establish nationally recognized but voluntary codes of conduct to minimize cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
  • Develop incentives to counter cybersecurity threats and explore and pinpoint incentives that could include slashing  “cyberinsurance“ premiums for companies that implement best practices.

  • Improve public understanding of cybersecurity vulnerabilities through education and research.
  • Boost global collaboration on cybersecurity best practices to support expanded global markets for U.S. products.

“The multistakeholder process relies on the institutions that so successfully built the Internet itself, drawing from businesses, consumers, academia, and civil society, as well as from government,” Locke pointed out in the report. “That is the kind of dynamic and flexible framework needed to adapt to challenges of rapidly changing technology.”

To gather additional stakeholder input and refine the report's preliminary recommendations, Commerce will seek public comment and publish questions from the report in a Federal Register notice later this week.

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