Obama announces action plan to boost US cybersecurity

Cybersecurity issues
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday rolled out a national action plan aimed at taking near-term actions and putting in place a long-term strategy to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity.

Under Obama’s plan, a commission will be created to make recommendations on actions “that can be taken over the next decade to enhance cybersecurity awareness and protections throughout the private sector and at all levels of government,” the White House said in a statement, Xinhua reported.

The commission, comprised of top strategic, business, and technical thinkers from outside of government, including members to be designated by the bi-partisan Congressional leadership, will present a roadmap for future cybersecurity actions to Obama before the end of 2016, just before Obama leaves office.

The Obama administration will also create a new federal position known as Federal Chief Information Security Officer to drive cybersecurity policy, planning, and implementation across the federal government.

“This is the first time that there will be a dedicated senior official who is solely focused on developing, managing, and coordinating cybersecurity strategy, policy, and operations across the entire Federal domain,” said the White House.

Obama’s plan encouraged Americans to move beyond passwords and use multiple factors of authentication to log in to their online accounts, such as a fingerprint or a single use code delivered in a text message.

Meanwhile, Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget, also released on Tuesday, is proposing over $19 billion in cybersecurity funding, a 35 percent increase over this year’s spending plan.

The money included a $3.1-billion Information Technology Modernisation Fund to retire, replace, or modernize antiquated IT infrastructure, networks, and systems “that are expensive to maintain, provide poor functionality, and are difficult to secure. ”

By this spring, the Obama administration will also publicly release a policy for national cyber incident coordination and an accompanying severity methodology for evaluating cyber incidents “so that government agencies and the private sector can communicate effectively and provide an appropriate and consistent level of response,” the White House said.

It noted that the US Cyber Command is building a Cyber Mission Force of 133 teams with 6,200 members, which will be fully operational in 2018.

In addition, Obama signed an Executive Order that created a permanent Federal Privacy Council, which the White House said “will bring together the privacy officials from across the government to help ensure the implementation of more strategic and comprehensive Federal privacy guidelines.”


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