President Obama admits country is not prepared for attack
The United States will appoint a cyber security chief to help protect its IT infrastructure after president Barack Obama admitted that the country was not as prepared as it could be for threats from cyberspace.
Describing America’s digital infrastructure as a strategic national asset, Obama said: “It’s clear that we’re not as prepared as we should be [for a cyber attack]. Just as we failed to invest in our physical infrastructure, we have failed to invest in our digital infrastructure. No single agency has the responsibility or the authority to match the scope and scale of the challenge.”
According to the Guardian, the appointment of one person to oversee America’s digital defences will unite a security effort that had previously been the duty of a number of organisations. The person has not yet been named.
The White House recently conducted a review into cyber security after a number of high profile security breaches. In April 2009 the US government admitted that the nation’s power grid is vulnerable to cyber attack. The Wall Street Journal claimed that Chinese and Russian spies were behind an attack, but that was not confirmed by the government.
In 2008, several thousand military computers were infected by malware, although no sensitive information was compromised. Obama also admitted that during his successful presidential campaign his computer systems were hacked, with the hackers gaining access to travel plans and policy papers.
“Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have spoken of their desire to unleash a cyber attack,” said Obama, “attacks that are harder to detect and harder to defend against. Indeed, in today’s world, acts of terror could come not only from a few extremists in suicide vests but from a few key strokes on the computer – a weapon of mass disruption.”
Obama said that the Cybersecurity Coordinator will be part of the National Security Staff and National Economic Council and will work closely with the government’s Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra and Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra.
The Cybersecurity Coordinator will develop a new strategy to tackle cyber crime as well ensure a coordinated response to any attacks.