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Homeland Security

Obama Signs Executive Order on Cybersecurity

by VOA News February 13, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order Friday aimed at encouraging companies and organizations to share more information about cybersecurity threats with the government and each other.

President signed the order at a White House-sponsored conference on cybersecurity and consumer protection at Stanford University in California.

A White House fact sheet on the summit says it 'comes at a crucial point,' when cyberthreats have grown 'more diffuse, acute and destructive.'

The White House says the executive order lays out a framework that will include 'strong protections for privacy and civil liberties,' even as it removes barriers between the government and private sector.

'Much of our nation's critical infrastructure and a diverse array of other potential targets are not owned by the Federal government,' said the White House. 'The Federal government cannot, nor would Americans want it to, provide cybersecurity for every private network. Therefore, the private sector plays a crucial role in our overall national network defense.'

The order directs the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to fund an organization to develop voluntary standards for the entities sharing information.

The move follows high-profile hack attacks against Sony Pictures Entertainment, Anthem health insurance, Target, Home Depot, EBay and JPMorgan Chase. The U.S. government also has suffered cyberattacks, including the hacking of unclassified computers at the White House and State Department, as well as the Twitter and YouTube accounts of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the military campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Some of the attacks have been blamed on hackers in Russia, China and North Korea.

Earlier this week, the White House announced the creation of a new federal agency to analyze threats to the nation's cybersecurity and coordinate strategy to combat them.

The Obama administration is launching the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center as a central place to coordinate cyberthreat intelligence from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies. The center will operate under the guidance of the director of national intelligence.

Currently, no single government agency is responsible for coordinating cyberthreat assessments, sharing information rapidly among existing agencies, and providing timely intelligence to policymakers, said Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism.

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