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President Obama issues executive order to strengthen US cyber defences

13 Feb 2013

US president Barack Obama has signed a security executive order designed to help improve the country's cyber defences.

Obama warned during his State of the Union address that the emergence of state-sponsored threats and the potential damage they can do proves the need for change.

"America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber attacks. Now, we know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private emails," said Obama.

"We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems.

"We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy."

Obama claims the executive order will strengthen US network defences by increasing information sharing between companies and government agencies on cyber attacks.

The president also promised the order will create new standards to protect national security, jobs and privacy.

He called on US Congress to pass legislation that gives the government more control over networks, making it easier for them to monitor people's activity on them.

The details regarding how the new policies will be implemented, work and what increased powers the government will actually get remain vague.

F-Secure security analysts Sean Sullivan claimed the lack of clarity around the proposed reforms could be a sign that the executive order is meer blustering by Obama.

"The order doesn't really seem do so much practically speaking. It's really just ‘the boss' being the boss of an executive branch agency," Sullivan told V3.

"Instead of quietly telling the Department of Homeland Security to do some research and to draft a plan of action on what's need to protect critical infrastructure - president Obama is doing so in a very public fashion."

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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