Obama: Tech companies and government must share threat data

In his address at the White House Summit on Cyber Security, the President emphasized that neither government nor the private sector can tackle the problem alone

President Barack Obama signed an executive order today on cyber security that aims to ward off digital threats that imperil both the economy and national security.

The order calls for companies to set up hubs to share information within the private sector and between government and the private sector. It also emphasizes protection of privacy and civil liberties, a concern that has arisen when government has access to individuals' online information. Obama signed the order during an appearance at the White House Summit on Cyber Security and Consumer Protection at Stanford University.

Neither government nor the private sector can deal with cyber threats alone, Obama said. "There's only one way to defend America [from] these cyber threats, and that's through government and industry working together, sharing appropriate information as true partners."

"We have to make cyberspace safer. We have to improve cooperation across the board" in America and internationally, he said, noting that the issue is neither a Democrat nor Republican one as everyone is vulnerable. Cyber security has been a major concern, particularly in the wake of the recent cyber-attack on Sony.

Prior to Obama's speech, White House counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco noted that increasingly, she is bringing the President bad news about cyber threats, which are becoming "more diverse, more sophisticated, and more dangerous." She expressed support for increased partnerships between the government and private sector, saying that attacks like the Sony situation "could become the norm," although there is a plan to address these threats. Monaco also called for replacing passwords with more secure technology.

Jeff Zients, director of the President's economic council, said that nine out of ten Americans think they have lost control over their personal data, which could have them losing faith in the digital economy. "We can't let that happen," he said, urging more investments in cyber security and calling out to Congress to put forward legislation as well, stressing the issue was not a partisan one. "To legislators on the Hill, the ball is in Congress's court, Let's get this done."

The summit focused on public-private collaboration on cyber security as well as improving practices at consumer-oriented businesses and organizations. Officials from both the government and the private sector, including executives from American Express, Bank of America, and Kaiser Permanente, appeared onstage. "Over the past year, there has been a surge in cyber security incidents against high-profile consumer retail, banking, healthcare and utility companies," a White House statement issued on the event said. "Combined with persistent and growing cyber threats against government entities, we must continue expanding and enhancing public-private cooperation to further safeguard consumers and to better protect our economic and national security." But the potential clash between privacy and security also was noted at the event.

In January, Obama unveiled proposals intended to protect citizens from identity theft and ensure privacy, including measures protecting children from digital marketing. "Shortly after after I took office, I declared that cyber threats pose an enormous challenge for our country. It's one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation," Obama said last month, citing the Sony attack.

During his brief appearance at the event, Apple CEO Tim Cook cited the importance of privacy. "If those of us in positions of responsibility fail to do everything in our power to protect the right of privacy, we risk something far more valuable than money. We risk our way of life." Technology, though offers tools to avoid these risks, he said.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags white housesecuritysonyStanford University

More about American ExpressAppleBank of AmericaSonyStanford UniversityTechnology

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Paul Krill

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place