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Obama unprepared for Cyber terrorism

President Barack Obama said on Friday that the U.S. government wasn't as prepared as it should have been against the disruptions caused by hacker attacks, which prompted him to create a new cyber coordinator position inside the White House staff. The still-to-be-appointed coordinator will manage a new bureaucracy that will handle online infrastructure security, a task previously assigned to the Department of Homeland Security.

Obama administration more focus on IT Security and terrorism

Ironically, the very business groups that have been attempting to raise cyber security's profile in the administration have remained cautious to Washington's regulatory mandates. Apparently, security hawks would rather that the new establishment gain more control over the private sector.

At any rate, the final report ended up becoming a political compromise. It recommends systems that detect and stops cyber intrusions as well as warnings against hackings and security breaches while emphasizing that the cooperation between the industry and privacy groups is imperative. Laws forcing companies to share more information with the government about intrusions may be necessary, but the report assures that it's only reserved "as a last resort."

Obama also seemed to look for a balance between his administration warning people of the hazards of cyber terrorists and other online troublemakers and not going overboard with its good intentions. He promised that the monitoring of Internet traffic or private sector networks will not be included in the pursuit of cyber security.

According to the report, the coordinator's job is to become the White House's representative in policing cyber incidents in the event of a cyber security crisis. That's nearly the same task that White House officials who help keep an eye on natural disasters or terrorist attacks have. All the same, the new coordinator's responsibilities will be shared between the National Security Council and the National Economic Council.

As another news post on this site states, reaction to the administration's announcement was generally positive despite some unaired complaints that the new coordinator will not report directly to the president or be given access within the White House itself.

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