Obama unveils $19 bn Cybersecurity National Action Plan
US President Obama unveiled the Cybersecurity National Action Plan that seeks to protect US citizens, the government and companies from the growing risks of cyber attacks. The proposal, part of the US's 2017 budget, would require the Congress to sanction $19 billion, 35% more than 2016's cyber security budget. China, Russia, Iran and North Korea were named as primary threats to US cyber security.
Cyber security is the use of technology and processes to protect computers, networks and data from unauthorized access, change or destruction.
The number of cyber attacks on U.S. government agencies rose alarmingly in 2014 and 2015. Hackers infiltrated servers in the White House, the Federal Aviation Service and the Internal Revenue Service among others. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was hit by what was US's largest security breach in June 2015, leading to 22 million employees' records and 5 million employees' fingerprints being stolen.
US Chief Information Officer Tony Scot launched a fast-track process to tighten cyber security across all federal agencies over a 30-day period after the OPM hack. The '30-day sprint' as it was called, required federal agencies to immediately adopt security protocols, like patching vulnerabilities and introducing multi-factor authentication. A team was set up to review the government's cyber security practices and policies.
The US Senate approved the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) for creating an information sharing mechanism for the private sector in order to prevent cyber attacks. CISA would enable companies to share information on cyber attacks through the Department of Homeland, and receive warnings. Several companies, including Apple, voiced concerns over the government intruding into their privacy and strongly condemned the bill.
US's Department of Defense (DoD) opened a cell in Silicon Valley, the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) to partner with tech startups and innovators in the defense sector.
The Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) envisions a commission to enhance cyber security across the private and public sector. The plan allocates $3 billion for upgrading the government's outdated computer systems. It focuses on certifying internet-connected devices as secure, and campaigning to create cyber security awareness among citizens. Initiatives for helping students take up cyber security careers have been started as well.