Obama calls on Americans to help with cybersecurity

In a video address, the president said everyone is responsible for keeping U.S. networks safe
By Nancy Gohring
IDG News Service
10/16/2009

U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Americans to help guard against cyberattacks in a first-of-its-kind video published on the White House Web site.

“Our digital networks are critical to our national security, our military superiority and public safety. But that dependence also makes us vulnerable to cyberattack from those who would do us harm,” Obama said in the video.

He called the threat of cyberattacks one of the most serious economic and national security challenges faced by the U.S., and urged businesses and individuals to take greater care online.

Obama said he will “soon” appoint a cybersecurity coordinator to lead a new government office responsible for making sure that defending the country’s networks becomes a national security priority.

He first announced the new office in May and has been criticized for not appointing a leader for it sooner. In August, the former head of cybersecurity for the administration resigned and told the Washington Post that she was tired of waiting for the new appointee.

In his video address, which the White House called the first of its kind by a U.S. president, Obama said the private sector, which owns and operates most of the networks, has a responsibility to secure them. He called for public-private partnerships to ensure security and privacy.

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