Reporters write their stories on their computers in the gallery as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015.
Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Obama to announce executive action on cybersecurity

In a continuing push on cybersecurity, President Obama is expected to announce an executive order to encourage information-sharing between the private sector and the government.

Ahead of the president’s cybersecurity summit at Stanford University on Friday, Director of the National Economic Council Jeff Zients and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel briefed reporters about the gathering and the administration’s efforts. The conference will focus on how to increase cybersecurity for government and businesses and how to bolster consumer protections, which Zients called “two sides of the same coin.” Announcements by companies of new commitments to improve cybersecurity as well as executive action by Obama to encourage information sharing are expected.

Calling cybersecurity, “one of the defining challenges of the 21st century for us,” Daniel said that although the president has been concerned about it since taking office, an ever-growing percentage of the threats he is briefed on are cyber-related. Thus, the administration is accelerating and increasing its focus on the issue as the threat continues to grow. Zients said cybersecurity is also a strategic asset to drive economic growth and that it serves as a “business differentiator” — American companies that are leaders in cybersecurity will be leaders with consumers.

In February 2014, the administration created a “Cybersecurity Framework” to serve as a roadmap for organizations and businesses seeking to manage cybersecurity risk. Earlier this year, the administration sent a legislative package to Congress and said it is reaching out in both the Senate and House, on a bipartisan basis, to get the legislation enacted. And earlier this week, administration officials announced creation of a Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center to collect and disseminate information on cyber threats.