Barack Obama says CENTCOM hack calls for stronger cybersecurity laws

Washington, Jan 14: President Barack Obama has unveiled details of his cybersecurity legislative proposal saying protection of digital infrastructure was a "national security priority and a national economic priority", days after the US CENTCOM's social media account was hacked.

"Cyber threats pose an enormous challenge for our country. It is one of the most serious economic and national challenges we face as a nation. Foreign governments, criminals and hackers probe America's computer networks every single day," Obama said in a speech yesterday.

'US needs stronger cybersecurity laws'
In his speech yesterday, the President referred to the hacking of the Twitter and You Tube account of the US Central Command (CENTCOM).

"Just yesterday we saw the hack of a military Twitter account and YouTube channel. No military operations were impacted. So far it appears that no classified information was released. But the investigation is ongoing," he said.

"It is a reminder that cyber threats are an urgent and growing danger. Moreover, much of our critical infrastructure, our financial systems, power grids, pipelines, health care systems run on networks connected to the Internet.

"So this is a matter of public safety and of public health. And most of this infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector," Obama said.

He said, "Protecting our digital infrastructure is a national security priority and a national economic priority. Over the past six years we've pursued a comprehensive strategy, boosting our defences in government, sharing more information with the private sector to help them defend themselves, working with industry through what we call the Cybersecurity Framework. Not just to respond to threats and recover from attacks, but to prevent and disrupt them in the first place."

Senior Administration officials said the US is open to working with other countries and partners to strengthen security in cyberspace.

"We are very committed to working with all of our partners around the world to improve cybersecurity. We're very interested in working towards the norms of behaviour in cyberspace, what we think states should and should not do to establish those norms about what states should and should not do in cyberspace," a senior administration official said requesting anonymity.

Cyber-security is expected to be one of the major areas of discussion with India when Obama travels to New Delhi to attend the Republic Day Parade on January 26 as its chief guest.

"We're very focused on building particularly law enforcement partnerships with other countries overseas to more effectively prosecute cyber criminals wherever they are," the official said without naming any country.


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