Following turmoil caused by the recent Sony Pictures hack, as well as Monday’s hostile takeover of the U.S. Central Command Twitter accountPresident Obama has revealed a new set of proposals he hopes will shield both businesses and the government from the threat of cyberattacks.
“With the Sony attacks that took place, with the Twitter account that was hacked by Islamist jihadist sympathizers yesterday, it just goes to show how much more work we need to do, both public and private sector, to strengthen our cybersecurity to make sure that families’ bank accounts are safe, to make sure that our public infrastructure is safe,” Obama said in a meeting with congressional leaders earlier today.
The proposals would mean tougher penalties for people accused of carrying out crimes using computer networks. It would also protect companies from liability if they share information about cyberattacks with the U.S. government, a provision designed to encourage businesses’ working alongside the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity center.
On top of this, President Obama is proposing prosecuting the sale of botnets—referring to computer networks created to perpetrate cybercrime—and is looking to expand law enforcement’s operational capabilities in deterring the sale of spyware used to stalk individuals and commit identity theft.
To reflect this new era of cybercrime, the White House plans to update the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act to ensure that crimes committed via computer prompt penalties in line with other types of organized crime.
President Obama will likely expand on all of these initiatives—which will need congressional approval to be passed into law—at the State of the Union address on January 20.
[via New York Times]