White House pledges to step up cybersecurity ahead of congressional elections

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The White House warned foreign hackers on Thursday that it will increase offensive measures as part of a new national cyber-security strategy.The move comes as US intelligence officials expect a flurry of digital attacks ahead of the November 6 congressional elections. The strategy provides federal agencies with new guidance on how to protect themselves and the private data of Americans, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters.Bolton said the policy change was needed “not because we want more offensive operations in cyberspace but precisely to create the structures of deterrence that will demonstrate to adversaries that the cost of their engaging in operations against us is higher than they want to bear.” The new policy also outlines a series of broad priorities, including the need to develop global internet policies and a competent domestic cybersecurity workforce.It follows a recent Trump administration decision to reverse an Obama-era directive, known as PPD-20, which established an exhaustive approval process for the military to navigate in order to launch hacking operations. Bolton said the removal provided more leeway to respond to foreign cyber threats.“In general, I think there is new tone in the policy but not much new policy other than the revocation of PPD-20, which had already been announced,” Ari Schwartz, White House National Security Council cybersecurity director under President Barack Obama, told Reuters.