Obama SOTU to focus on cybersecurity protections

Global Business

U.S. President Barack Obama will highlight cybersecurity in his State of the Union address, as he is expected to roll out a new package of reforms meant to help companies and consumers stay safe online. CCTV America’s Jim Spellman reported this story from Washington, D.C.
The address will feature new cybersecurity proposals meant to better protect individuals and businesses from hackers.

Obama's SOTU speech to include affordable higher education plan

Obama's SOTU speech to include affordable higher education plan

Among the proposals in tonight's State of the Union is one centering around education. The plan would make two-year community colleges in the U.S. free to students who maintain a certain grade point average. Supporters of the idea said it would improve access to education at a time when education is more important than ever. Critics are worried about the price tag, and just who would benefit from the plan. CCTV America's Hendrik Sybrandy reported this story from Denver.

“It’s one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation. Foreign governments, criminals and hackers probe America’s computer networks every single day,” Obama said.

The recent Sony hack brought increased attention to cybersecurity while recent attacks on Home Depot and Target put the credit card data of millions of consumers at risk.

Obama is expected to propose a set of reforms including: Increased powers for law enforcement agencies to fight cybercrime, better protection from identity theft, and more data sharing between the private sector and the government.

“Sometimes it’s still too hard for government to share threat information with companies. Sometimes it’s still too hard for companies to share information about cyber threats with the government,” Obama said.

Breach notification requirements, which would mean companies must inform customers within 30 days of being hacked, are expected to be included in the proposed reforms.

Some companies that have been reluctant to reveal vulnerabilities that could damage the company’s reputation or stock prices have resisted these measures.

Allan Friedman, a cybersecurity expert at George Washington University said the proposed regulations are a good start but won’t solve the problem.

“These certainly wouldn’t have stopped Sony, they wouldn’t have stopped the Target or Home Depot attacks so we need to move forward and continue with thinking ‘how do we create a market for cybersecurity,'” Friedman said. “Ultimately it’s going to be a private sector solution but the government needs to look and wonder why the market isn’t working.”

The White House is set to host a summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection in February. It is slated to bring together government officials and tech industry leaders as Obama tries to move these cybersecurity reforms beyond State of the Union talking points and into law.