White House should lead broad cybersecurity effort

The panel created by President Barack Obama
in 2013 delivered a 90-page set of
recommendations, noting that most would
need to be carried out by incoming President-
elect Donald Trump.

“It is critical that the next president and his
administration and Congress begin
immediately to tackle each one of the issues
raised in this report,” the panel said.
“The commission considers this report a
direct memo to the next president. The
recommendations reflect what the
commissioners believe are the highest-
priority actions to take. Some
recommendations call for actions within the
first 100 days of the new administration.”
The report comes amid a wave of cyber
attacks that have compromised data on tens
of millions of US government employees,
Yahoo users and other online services, and
major companies such as Sony Pictures.
There are also concerns about risks to
networks that control critical infrastructure
such as electric grids and water systems.

The election campaign itself was also roiled
by concerns about cyber attacks said to come
from Russia.
The Commission on Enhancing National
Cybersecurity, headed by former US national
security adviser Thomas Donilon and former
IBM chief Samuel Palmisano, called for a
wide range of actions from both the public
and private sector, while arguing that the
White House has a responsibility to lead the

“We need to recognize that neither the
government nor the private sector can
capably protect systems and networks
without extensive and close cooperation,”
the report said.

The panel called for better public-private
cooperation but said that “the government is
— and should remain — the only
organization with the responsibility and, in
most cases, the capacity to effectively
respond to large-scale malicious or harmful
activity in cyberspace caused by nation-

Specifically, it said the private and public
sectors “should collaborate on a roadmap for
improving the security of digital networks,”
which can protect against so-called denial-of-
service attacks that can shut down systems.
“The administration should focus first on
mitigating and, where possible, eliminating
denial-of-service attacks, particularly those
launched by botnets,” the report said,
referring to networks of web-connected
machines that can be manipulated with

– Mobile security, passwords –
Because of the growth in use of mobile
devices, cybersecurity efforts should also
focus on protecting against disruption of
wireless communications, the panel said.
The government should prioritize efforts to
guard against any attacks on the global
positioning system (GPS) and have
contingency plans if these systems fail, the
report said.

One of the ways to guard against attacks is
stepping up identity verification — which
could be helped by moving away from
passwords which are often stolen and used
by hackers.

The panel also called for creation of a new
civilian agency to lead cybersecurity and
critical infrastructure protection, a new
cybersecurity awareness campaign and the
“equivalent of a cybersecurity ‘nutritional
label’” for tech products and services.
Obama, in a statement, called the
recommendations “thoughtful and
pragmatic” and said his administration “will
take additional action wherever possible”
before he leaves office next month.
He said he asked the panel to brief the
Trump transition team “at their earliest

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