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Trump executive order seeks to thwart foreign cyber meddling

Outgoing US President Donald Trump signed an executive order in a bid to curb the use of the country’s cloud computing products and services products by foreign malicious cyber actors.

Foreign malicious cyber actors aim to harm the US economy through the theft of intellectual property and sensitive data and to threaten national security by targeting the country’s critical infrastructure for malicious cyber-enabled activities, the White House said on Tuesday.

The order signed on Trump’s final full day in office noted that foreign actors use US Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) products for a variety of tasks in carrying out malicious cyber-enabled activities.

These activities make it difficult for officials to track and obtain information through the legal process before these “foreign actors transition to replacement infrastructure and destroy evidence of their prior activities,” it added.

IaaS products provide persons the ability to run software and store data on servers offered for rent or lease without responsibility for the maintenance and operating costs of those servers.

This order provides authority to impose record-keeping obligations with respect to foreign transactions.

“To address these threats, to deter foreign malicious cyber actors’ use of United States IaaS products, and to assist in the investigation of transactions involving foreign malicious cyber actors, the United States must ensure that providers offering United States IaaS products verify the identity of persons obtaining an IaaS account (“Account”) for the provision of these products and maintain records of those transactions,” said the executive order.

“Inappropriate circumstances, to further protect against malicious cyber-enabled activities, the United States must also limit certain foreign actors’ access to United States IaaS products,” it added.

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