Stopping nasty foreign-based—and maybe even foreign government-backed—hackers from stealing U.S. trade secrets is clearly something that can’t be achieved quickly, if at all, as evidenced by President Barack Obama’s official continuation of a cybersecurity national state of emergency.
Obama has extended for a year a cybersecurity executive order that authorizes the Department of Treasury to impose economic sanctions on foreign individuals or entities that engage in malicious cybersecurity activities that pose a significant threat to national security or the economy. “Significant malicious cyber-enabled activities continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States,” Obama said in extending the order.
Obama unveiled the order last year on April 1, 2015—no fooling—as part of a larger effort aimed at improving government and corporate cybersecurity defenses.
The order specifies that sanctions may apply when the underlying theft of the trade secrets is reasonably likely to result in, or has materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy or economic health or financial stability of the U.S.; for example, where a corporation knowingly profits from stolen trade secrets.
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