Obama seeks cyber security boost to replace ‘ancient’ tech

Obama is asking Congress for $19 billion more in cyber security funding across all government agencies. (File photo: Shutterstock)

United States President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he is asking Congress for $3.1 billion to update the government’s archaic computer systems to protect them from cyber-attacks as part of a new, centralized effort to boost cyber security.

Obama said he will hire a new chief information security officer — but whose salary would be paltry compared to those paid by big businesses — and expand the government’s troubled “Einstein” intrusion-prevention technology. Obama said some infrastructure is downright ancient, with the Social Security Administration relying on systems from the 1960s that are vulnerable.

“That’s going to have to change,” Obama said, flanked by top national security advisers in the Roosevelt Room. “We’re going to have to play some catch-up.”

Across town, the U.S. director of national intelligence, James Clapper, warned Congress that Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are the most serious threats to U.S. information systems. Clapper also said increasingly connected devices and appliances make the U.S. vulnerable in new ways.

Obama’s comments came after the release of his 2017 budget proposal. Obama is asking Congress for $19 billion more in cyber security funding across all government agencies — an increase of more than from 35 percent from last year.

Dubbed the “Cyber security National Action Plan,” the White House touted the plan as the “capstone” of seven years of work to build a cohesive federal cyber security response — an effort that has often faltered in the past.

Obama said some problems could be fixed relatively quickly, but added he was directing his advisers to focus also on anticipating future threats so that cyber security protections can adapt.

“I’m going to be holding their feet to the fire to make sure they execute on this in a timely fashion,” Obama said.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47