President Obama appointed Tom Donilon, his former national security advisor, to head a panel tasked with finding better ways to protect the nation’s cybersecurity on Wednesday. Sam Palmisano, former IBM chief executive, will serve as vice chairman.
The President asked them to put together a bipartisan group of up to 12 members and issue a report by December 1. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the commission will “set the country on a path of ensuring cybersecurity over the next decade.”
“Right now, we are not as well organized as we need to be to make sure that we’re dealing with all these threats in an effective way,” Obama said.
Hackers illegally accessed more than one billion personal records in 2014. Up 54% from 2013. Cyber attacks over the past year included a breach of over 22 million records of government employees and contractors, including classified documents. Hackers also stole over 5.6 million people’s fingerprints.
Obama emphasized the importance of the public and private sectors coming together to find solutions. Donilon brings experience with national security. Palmisano will approach the problem from a private sector and non-profit perspective.
Appointing them is Obama’s first step in implementing the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) he announced on February 9. CNAP calls for a 35 percent increase in federal cybersecurity spending to over $19 billion in 2017. The commision’s specific tasks include: finding ways to keep government databases secure, providing timely guidance to the public on best practices to keep their data safe, improving procurement and attracting the best computer personnel.
(A general overview of cyberthreats facing individuals, companies and the US government.)
John McAfee, “cybersecurity legend” and eccentric.
Not every expert is impressed. John McAfee, Libertarian Party presidential hopeful famous for his McAfee anti-virus software said “all of the great hackers are not the type who want to wear suits, shine their shoes and show up to work every day.” And that many talented hackers “want to smoke weed while they work.”
The government is “20 years behind the rest of the world” on cybersecurity, said the self-described “cybersecurity legend.” And the US is “ill-prepared” for increasingly complex cyberattacks launched from foreign soil.
The colorful CEO also claims he could lead a team of hackers to unlock the Iphone used by the San Bernardino shooters within three weeks – without the backdoor the FBI has requested of Apple.
Commission Chair Donilon has a legal and lobbying background. Before serving as Deputy National Security Advisor under Obama, he was Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs under President Clinton.
I am a beat reporter here at The Daily Voice, and a writer and editor for DailyTwoCents.com and Writedge.com. My interests are wide ranging outside of the virtual newsroom, yet here I mainly focus on serious world news and commentary. I graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in history.