In the wake of the Sony and Anthem hacks, President Obama is expected to announce, in what appears to be an end run against post-Snowden privacy demands by tech companies, a new executive order on cybersecurity that would direct the government and private U.S. companies to share threat data. Reuters’ Joseph Menn, who broke the story, said that the announcement will likely be made either tonight or tomorrow at a Stanford University event. Apple CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to speak at the event, as will the CEOs of Bank of America., U.S. Bancorp, American Express, Kaiser Permanente, Visa., MasterCard, and PayPal.
All of this is happening at an accelerated pace because of a larger convergence between cybercrime and international espionage. U.S. companies are routinely attacked by agents of foreign countries, and the same hackers that target corporate computers also target energy utilities and government servers.
Last month, President Obama told members of Congress that “With the Sony attacks that took place, with the Twitter account that was hacked by Islamist jihadist sympathizers (on January 12), 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.” Not coincidentally, the White House also announced plans for a new anti-cyberattack agency earlier this week.