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On January 19, 2022, the White House issued a National Security Memorandum (NSM) to improve the cybersecurity of National Security, Department of Defense, and Intelligence Community Systems.  This NSM requires National Security Systems (NSS) to employ the network cybersecurity measures that are equivalent to or exceed those required of federal civilian networks in Executive Order (EO) 140281.


The landmark EO 14028, signed in May 2021, paved the way to implementing new policies aimed to improve national cybersecurity posture. EO 14028 was signed in the wake of several notable cybersecurity catastrophes in 2020 and 2021, such as the ransomware attack targeting the Colonial Pipeline, the Microsoft Exchange server vulnerabilities that affected more than 60,000 organizations, and the SolarWinds hack that compromised many federal agencies.

This NSM builds upon requirements in EO 14028 and raises the bar for the cybersecurity of the U.S.’ most sensitive systems.  As outlined in the White House fact sheet, this NSM:

  • Specifies how the provisions of EO 14028 apply to National Security Systems.
  • Improves the visibility of cybersecurity incidents that occur on these systems.
  • Requires agencies to act to protect or mitigate a cyber-threat to National Security Systems
  • Requires agencies to secure cross domain solutions – tools that transfer data between classified and unclassified systems.

This white paper discusses best security practices associated with the key components of the NSM.  It additionally details how to implement these best practices with solutions from Thales Trusted Cyber Technologies:

  1. Implementation of multifactor authentication
  2. Implementation of encryption for NSS data-at-rest and data-in-transit
  3. Application of minimum security standards and controls related to cloud migration and operations
  4. Adoption of a Zero Trust Architecture
  5. Transition to quantum resistant encryption

 

 

 

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