Obama Administration Outlines Cybersecurity Plan

By Erin Harrison May 12, 2011

Following its cyberspace policy review of nearly two years ago, today the Obama administration unveiled its plan to enhance the nation’s cybersecurity, after declaring that “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.”

The Associated Press reported that the administration’s proposed legislation also would instruct federal agencies to more closely monitor their computer networks. The Cyperspace Policy Review released in 2009 found “cybersecurity risks pose some of the most serious economic and national security challenges of the 21st century.”

Under the cybersecurity plan, national data breach reporting would go into effect and reform the penalties for computer crimes, whereby synchronizing them with other crimes, and set mandatory minimums for cyber intrusions into critical infrastructure. The Obama administration also proposes updated legislation on management, personnel, intrusion prevention systems and data centers.

“Although the Homeland Security Department works with various industries to press for better security and network protections, there are no specific regulations governing what private companies must do to safeguard the systems that run their power plants, secure databases or financial systems,” the AP reported.

In a White House blog post Thursday, Howard Schmidt, cybersecurity coordinator and special assistant to the president, called the President’s plan a “milestone” in the country’s effort to improve security over the Web.

“This is a milestone in our national effort to ensure secure and reliable networks for Americans, businesses, and government; fundamentally, this proposal strikes a critical balance between maintaining the government’s role and providing the industry with the capacity to innovatively tackle threats to national cybersecurity,” wrote Schmidt. “Just as importantly, it does so while providing a robust framework to protect civil liberties and privacy.

According to the Obama administration’s cyberspace policy review, industry estimates of losses from intellectual property to data theft in 2008, range as high as $1 trillion.

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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