Epic fail: Despite declaring ‘national emergency,’ White House detects NO cybersecurity threats

(Cyberwar.news) Nearly six months ago and with some fanfare President Barack Obama declared cybersecurity a “national emergency” after a series of state-sponsored intrusions into government and private sector IT systems, but thus far the effort has been a bust: The White House hasn’t managed to detect a single cyber threat since the emergency was declared.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, a new government report [PDF] notes that half a year after Obama invoked emergency powers to block assets of anyone caught engaging in “malicious cyber-enabled activities,” the administration has failed to detect a single qualifying target, despite the well-known fact that U.S. systems are constantly targeted by malicious actors, some working for nation-states and others acting on their own.

In its report, the Treasury Department said that “no entities or individuals have been designated” as legitimate cyber threats after the White House issued a directive in April 2015 that identified an “increasing prevalence and severity of malicious cyber-enabled activities” among individuals living outside the U.S.

These activities were said to constitute “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” prompting Obama to declare “a national emergency to deal with this threat.”

But six months later, the White House still has not invoked this power to battle growing cyber threats despite a dramatic increase in such activity among nations like Iran, China and North Korea.

“The Department of the Treasury took no punitive licensing actions, and it assessed no monetary penalties,” according to the department’s first periodic review of the president’s emergency order.

The administration has not explained why it hasn’t invoked the powers, even after reports that Russian hackers penetrated the State Department as well as “sensitive parts” of the White House’s computer networks in 2015.

In addition, the Defense Department and other government agencies have been targeted by hackers, which officials have tracked back to Russia, North Korea and other nation-states. Also, military organizations associated with the Iranian government have also been tagged for hacking into the email and social media accounts of White House officials.

A month after Obama invoked the emergency powers, Congress launched a probe into hacks of government and White House systems, believing that the administration had downplayed their severity, the Free Beacon reported.

Obama signed an order extending the cybersecurity emergency in April.

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