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RSA: White House mandarins laud Obama's security plan

27 Feb 2013
Front of the White House

President Obama's recent executive order on cybercrime could help improve international cyber security both in the government and private sector, according to current and former administration officials.

Speaking at the 2013 RSA conference in San Francisco, US cybersecurity co-ordinator Michael Daniel and former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary Michael Chertoff said that the plan could help strengthen the US infrastructure and improve the way intelligence is shared with outside entities.

Signed earlier this month, the executive order calls for, among other things, audits and reports from government agencies and plans for sharing vital intelligence with private-sector firms tasked with maintaining infrastructure.

"This is not about particular technologies," Daniel said. "It is about taking the best practices that are out threre and making sure our critical infrastructures are following those."

The officials also believe that the plan will help to streamline the way the government handles security policies. Daniel noted that with security an increasing concern, a new platform is needed to ensure all parts of the government are informed.

"One of the things we have seen as a trend in the private sector is cyber security moving out of the realm of the technology geeks and into the c-suite," he said.

"Similarly on the government side, you have seen a move out of the realm of the chief of security, it cuts across a broader swath of the federal government."

Should the executive order prove the catalyst for a successful security overhaul, other nations could follow suit. Similarly, firms who benefit from the increased communications with government could improve their own security protections internationally.

The executives also believe that a US cybersecurity update could improve diplomatic relations. Chertoff noted that by having a clearer picture on where attacks are coming from and what they are targeting, officials can avoid a serious confrontation.

"If you look back historically, wars tend to get started when one side misreads the tactics of the other," he said.

"A cyber attack that resulted in another 9/11 would be treated in the same way and would be met with a similar response."

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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