On Tuesday, President Obama signed two executive orders regarding cybersecurity and discussed his Cybersecurity National Action Plan with the Wall Street Journal.
The plan, as described by USA Today, will lead to the creation of a Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity comprised of “business, technology, national security and law enforcement leaders who will make recommendations to strengthen online security in the public and private sectors.”
The commission is scheduled to release its first report by December 1st, which seems like a long time to wait considering its only February and cybersecurity is such a pressing issue.
The plan also has details on the creation of a Federal Privacy Council which is designed to “bring together chief privacy officers from 25 federal agencies to coordinate efforts to protect the vast amounts of data the federal government collects and maintains about taxpayers and citizens.”
The structure of the plan is designed to allow Obama’s administration to make decisions and push forward on cybersecurity issues without seeking approval from Congress.
According to Michael Daniel, Obama’s cybersecurity adviser, Obama has requested a $19 billion increase in funding for the project, although progress can start to be made without this additional budget.
The timing of Obama’s announcement is interesting, as it was a day after hackers took the personal data of over 30,000 employees of the FBI and DHS.
Wired analyzed the Cybersecurity National Action Plan and noted that much of the text was “standard advice you’d give a tech novice.” Some of this included staying up-to-date with software upgrades, frequently changing passwords, utilizing basic security protocols.
One positive from the plan is the creation of a Chief Information Officer for the government, which makes sense since most large corporations have now included this position on their staff. This position must go to highly qualified individuals in order to be taken seriously and make progress towards protecting information from hackers.
In Obama’s Wall Street Journal op-ed, he mentions that nine out of 10 Americans feel they are not in control of their personal information. He also says that cybersecurity is one of the biggest national and economic threats the country faces. Despite these admissions, Obama failed to mention cybersecurity in his final State of the Union address. It’s also interesting that the President is so concerned with cybersecurity, yet has not addressed Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email, which was a complete disregard for national security.
When it comes to cybersecurity, Americans will need a lot more than just an understanding of how to change passwords and update software, Obama.