President of the United States, Barack Obama, recently requested Congress to pass legislation to increase cybersecurity.  This would be to aid private industry as well as government security.  There have been recent computer breaches that have increased the threat to national security and so Obama has capitalised on this growing concern.

Barack Obama

Mr Obama hopes to increase the prosecution of crimes committed through networks and strengthen penalties for these crimes.  The legislation would also protect any company who shares information with the government about threats via computer networks.

He stated, “neither government nor the private sector can defend the nation alone.  It’s going to have to be a shared mission — government and industry working hand in hand.”

“We want cybercriminals to feel the full force of American justice, because they are doing as much damage — if not more, these days — as folks who are involved in more conventional crime,” he continued.

In December, Sony was hacked and since then, there has been a growing concern for security.  The US government has stated that the hack came from the North Korean government therefore there is a need to overhaul cybersecurity.  There was also a recent attack on the US Central Command’s Twitter account.

At the beginning of a meeting held at the White House with congress leaders, Obama said, “it just goes to show how much more work we need to do, both public and private sector, to strengthen our cybersecurity to make sure that families’ bank accounts are safe, to make sure that our public infrastructure is safe.”

Over the past three years, the President has attempted to convince Congress to pass a cybersecurity bill but to no avail.

Mr. Obama envisions companies sharing threat information with the Department of Homeland Security.  The information would then be passed on to other agencies and groups voluntarily formed to share such information.  These companies would then get “targeted liability protection” for helping the government.  Information such as Internet Protocol addresses, date and time stamps and routing information would help stop cyber attacks.

President Obama also spoke of law enforcement capabilities to combat cybercrime. These would include the ability to prosecute the sale of botnets and also give power to courts to prosecute people involved in DDOS (distributed denial of service attacks) and other fraudulent activities.

The White House also announced that the president will attend a summit meeting on Feb 13th, to be held at Stanford University, where government officials, business executives, law enforcement officials and public interest advocates will be brought together to discuss the issues surrounding cybersecurity.

[Image via quietmike]