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President Obama Speaks at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection

The President visits Stanford University to speak at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection.

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Earlier this afternoon, the President visited Stanford University to speak at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. Today's summit brought together leaders from a number of areas -- Congress, industry, tech companies, law enforcement, students, and others -- to work together and explore partnerships that will help develop the best ways to bolster our cybersecurity.

President Obama remarked that our nation is doing more business online than ever before, at the rate of trillions of dollars each year. And consumers are doing more online as well -- managing bank accounts, shopping, paying bills, handling medical records, just to name a few. But, these new opportunities and conveniences also bring a unique set of risks.

"When companies get hacked, Americans’ personal information, including their financial information, gets stolen," the President explained. "Identity theft can ruin your credit rating and turn your life upside down. In recent breaches, more than 100 million Americans had their personal data compromised, including, in some cases, credit card information."

"Our connectivity brings extraordinary benefits to our daily lives, but it also brings risks."

Four principles for combating cybersecurity

Shortly after taking office, President Obama said that threats to our cybersecurity were a major economic and national security challenge to our nation, and committed to confront these threats. In today's remarks, he laid out four basic principles for doing so:

  1. This has to be a shared mission. Much of our country's computer networks and infrastructure are in the private sector, but government often has the most up-to-date information on new cyber threats. The only way to fully defend our country from these threats is by government and industry working together.
  2. We have to focus on our unique strengths. As capable as our government is, it's not always appropriate or even possible for the government to secure private businesses' computer networks. At the same time, in the instance of a cyber attack, private businesses don't always have the necessary capabilities, situational awareness, ability to warn other companies in real time, or capacity to coordinate a response across different companies and sectors.
  3. We have to constantly evolve. Cyber attacks are growing more sophisticated each and every day, and we have to be just as fast and flexible in improving our defenses.
  4. We must protect the privacy and civil liberty of the American people. The President noted that we've pursued important reforms to ensure that, while keeping our nation secure, we're also respecting the privacy of Americans. "When government and industry share information about cyber threats, we've got to do so in a way that safeguards your personal information," he said. "When people go online, we shouldn't have to forfeit the basic privacy we're entitled to as Americans.

In addition to proposed legislation to promote greater information sharing between the government and the private sector, and the creation of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, the President announced an additional step to improve our cybersecurity.

"I’m signing a new executive order to promote even more information sharing about cyber threats, both within the private sector and between government and the private sector," he said. The executive order -- which he signed immediately after his remarks -- encourages more companies and industries to set up hubs to share information with each other. It also calls for a common set of standards so the government can share information on threats with these hubs more easily.

Read the President's full remarks, view the full text of the executive order, and get more details on today's summit.