US President Obama says cyber-security among greatest challenges

President signs executive order aimed at encouraging sharing between tech companies and the government

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The Independent US

US President Barack Obama on Friday said cyber-security is one of the biggest challenges to the future of the US economy and signed an executive order to promote the sharing of information between technology companies and Washington.

The president addressed a crowd at Stanford University, a school synonymous with the tech industry, and campaigned for cooperation in combating cyber threats, according to a Reuters report.

“There's only one way to defend America from these cyber threats and that is through government and industry working together, sharing appropriate information as true partners,” Mr Obama said on Friday.

The executive order comes after two recent high-profile hacks of US companies. In December, Sony was hacked – by North Korea, according to the US government – and tonnes of emails and other documents were leaked.

Earlier this month, health care company Anthem Inc. was breached by hackers, who stole personal information of 80 million past and present customers, including social security numbers.

Mr Obama’s order calls for the creation of standards for sharing information between companies and the government, though does not lay out specific standards. The idea is for tech firms to work with the government to establish such protocols.

“Just as we're all connected like never before, we have to work together like never before, both to seize opportunities but also meet the challenges of this information age,” Mr Obama said. “It's one of the great paradoxes of our time that the very technologies that empower us to do great good can also be used to undermine us and inflict great harm.”


Follow Payton Guion on Twitter @PaytonGuion.