Obama outlines new cyber plan

White House to appoint security tsar to tackle hackers and check cyber crime

He also promised that he would bar the federal government from regular monitoring of “private-sector networks” and the Internet traffic that has become the backbone of American communications.
Obama’s speech, which was accompanied by the release of a long-awaited new government strategy, was an effort to balance the US’ response to a rising security threat with concerns — echoing back to the debates on wiretapping without warrants in the Bush years — that the government would be regularly dipping into Internet traffic that knew no national boundaries. One element of the strategy clearly differed from that established by the Bush administration in January 2008. Obama’s approach is described in a 38-page public document being distributed to the public and to companies that are most vulnerable to cyber attack; Bush’s strategy was entirely classified.
But Obama’s policy review was not specific about how he would turn many of the goals into practical realities, and he said nothing about resolving the running turf wars among the Pentagon, the National Security Agency, the Homeland Security Department and other agencies over the conduct of defensive and offensive cyber operations.

Security coordinator

The White House approach appears to place a new “cyber security coordinator” over all of those agencies. Obama did not name the coordinator on Friday, but the policy review said that whoever the president selects would be “action officer” inside the White House during cyber attacks, whether they were launched on the United States by hackers or governments.
In an effort to silence critics who have complained that the official will not have sufficient status to cut through the maze of competing federal agencies,  Obama said the new coordinator would have “regular access to me,” much like the coordinator for nuclear and conventional threats.
For the first time, Obama also spoke of his own brush with cyber attacks, in the presidential campaign. “Between August and October, hackers gained access to e-mails and a range of campaign files, from policy position papers to travel plans,” he said, describing events that were known, though sketchily, at the time.

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