President Trump signs order aimed at thwarting cyber interference

The order comes on Trump's last full day in office.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil

Trump has signed an executive order targeting foreign use of cloud services against the US.

Graphic by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday that aims to prevent foreign actors from using cloud computing platforms for malicious cyber interference against the US.

The order, signed on Trump's last full day in office, directs the Commerce Department to develop rules that require cloud service providers to identify and take action against foreign entities suspected of using the services for malicious cyber-enabled activities.

"Foreign malicious cyber actors aim to harm the United States economy through the theft of intellectual property and sensitive data and to threaten national security by targeting United States critical infrastructure for malicious cyber-enabled activities," Trump's order says.

"This order provides authority to impose record-keeping obligations with respect to foreign transactions," it says.

Trump's order comes two weeks after several US intelligence agencies attributed a sophisticated malware campaign to Russia. The massive breach reportedly compromised an email system used by senior leadership at the Treasury Department and systems at several other federal agencies.

Trump has been reluctant to blame Russia as the source of cyber interference in the US, suggesting instead that China is to blame for the hack.

In 2020, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a reported highlighting multiple instances in which the Trump campaign promoted stolen material provided by Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential campaign, even after the US intelligence community warned that the data came from the Kremlin.