An executive order presented today by the Biden administration aims to strengthen cybersecurity at US federal agencies. The new measures contained therein come amid a dramatic escalation in hacking activity, including a ransomware attack that shut down a 5,500-mile pipeline last Friday, which supplies nearly half of the U.S. east coast’s fuel needs.

The Colonial Pipeline incident followed a major hack earlier this year that compromised software from a company called SolarWinds so that the attackers could use their code to access the networks of several US government agencies. Citing these and other attacks on Microsoft Exchange email servers, the Biden administration’s announcement blamed inadequate cybersecurity defenses that left both the public and private sectors vulnerable.

The order should …

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