Trump stresses cybersecurity but postpones executive order

The president says he'll hold department heads more responsible for network security

U.S. President Donald Trump called on government agencies to better protect their networks, but he delayed signing an executive order to kick-start a government-wide review of cybersecurity policy.

A draft copy of the order, leaked earlier, would give the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security 60 days to submit a list of recommendations to protect U.S. government and private networks. 

Trump had been scheduled to sign the executive order Tuesday but canceled shortly before it was due to happen.

Instead of signing the executive order, Trump told reporters he'll hold cabinet secretaries and agency heads "totally accountable" for the security of their networks. US. agencies "certainly" don't have as much cybersecurity protections as they need, he said during a short briefing Tuesday.

"We must protect federal networks and data," Trump added. "We operate these networks on behalf of the American people and they are very important. We will empower these agencies to modernize their IT systems for better security and other uses."

The cybersecurity plan will also focus on protecting U.S. critical infrastructure, such as power plants and electrical grids, Trump said. Electrical grid security is a problem, "but we'll have it solved relatively soon," he promised.

During the briefing, Trump took a shot at the Democratic National Committee, which hackers infiltrated during the presidential campaign.

"Despite how they spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars more money than we did, the Democratic National Committee was hacked successfully, very successfully, and terribly successfully," he said. "And the Republican National Committee was not hacked. Meaning it was hacked, but they failed. We had a very strong defense system against hacking."

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service
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