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Securing Our Cyberspace: President Obama's New Steps to Strengthen America's Cybersecurity

He traveled to the National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Center to review what we've done to strengthen our cybersecurity and what he'll do next to defend our nation's systems.

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We live in a digitally connected world. Almost all business transactions, public utilities, or security measures rely on networks that are connected to the Internet. That is why cyber threats pose an enormous challenge to our country. Whether it's rogue hackers, organized criminals, or state actors, our public and private networks are facing an unprecedented level of cybersecurity threats. 

Since taking office, President Obama has led efforts to better prepare our government, our economy, and our nation as a whole for the growing cyber threats we face. Yesterday, he traveled to the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in Arlington, VA to review what we've done and what he'll do next to defend our nation's systems. 

Protecting our digital infrastructure is a national security priority and a national economic priority. Over the past six years, we’ve pursued a comprehensive strategy, boosting our defenses in government, sharing more information with the private sector to help them defend themselves, working with industry through what we call the Cybersecurity Framework not just to respond to threats and recover from attacks but to prevent and disrupt them in the first place.   

President Obama Tours the NCCIC

President Barack Obama tours the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Virginia. He is accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and tour guides Dr. Phyllis Schneck, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity & Communications, and Brigadier General Greg Touhill, (Ret.), Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity Operations and Programs. January 13, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Yet, there are core challenges that remain in our work to strengthen America's cybersecurity:

The problem is that government and the private sector are still not always working as closely together as we should. Sometimes it’s still too hard for government to share threat information with companies. Sometimes it’s still too hard for companies to share information about cyber threats with the government. There are legal issues involved and liability issues. Sometimes, companies are reluctant to reveal their vulnerabilities or admit publicly that they have been hacked. At the same time, the American people have a legitimate interest in making sure that government is not potentially abusing information that it's received from the private sector.  

So here's a look at the next steps the President is taking to improve our cybersecurity standards:

  • The President is putting forward a legislative proposal that would enable cybersecurity information sharing in the private sector and between the private sector and government. And the proposal would also safeguard Americans’ personal privacy by requiring private entities to comply with certain privacy restrictions such as removing unnecessary personal information and taking measures to protect any personal information that must be shared in order to qualify for liability protection.
  • The proposal modernizes law enforcement authorities to combat cyber crime and ensure they have appropriate tools to investigate, disrupt, and prosecute cyber crime.
  • The Administration has also updated its proposal on security breach reporting, helping business and consumers by simplifying and standardizing the existing patchwork of 46 state laws (plus the District of Columbia and several territories) that contain these requirements into one federal statute, and putting in place a single clear and timely notice requirement to ensure that companies notify their employees and customers about security breaches.
  • The Department of Energy will provide $25 million in grants over the next five years to support a cybersecurity education consortium consisting of 13 HBCUs and two national labs -- part of the President’s jobs-driven training initiative -- which will help to fill the growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. job market.

The President also announced that the White House will hold a summit on cybersecurity and consumer protection at Stanford University, bringing together industry, tech companies, law enforcement, consumer and privacy advocates, law professors who are specialists in this filed, and students, to ensure we develop solutions in a public and transparent way. 

"If we keep on working on them together, and focus on concrete and pragmatic steps that we can take to boost our cybersecurity and our privacy, I'm confident that both our privacy will be more secure and our information, our networks, public health, public safety will be more secure," the President said. 

You can learn more about the President's new steps on cybersecurity here

President Obama Speaks at NCCIC

President Barack Obama, with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, delivers remarks after he tours the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Virginia. January 13, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)