Yesterday, President Barack Obama and several key officials met with members of the private sector to discuss the progress of cybersecurity efforts in the past year. Chaired by White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, the meeting also included Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance (ISA), also attended the meeting and subsequently spoke with Homeland Security Today.
“The messages of the meeting were twofold,” Clinton said. “One was how important the administration regards the cybersecurity problem and efforts. The biggest statement of the meeting was in who came to the meeting. The President of the United States was there; the Secretary of Homeland Security was there for the entire time; the Secretary of Commerce was there for the entire time; the cybersecurity coordinator was there for the entire time. It was high-level engagement.”
The other point stressed in the meeting, according to Clinton, was the sincerity with which the administration views the need for public-private partnerships.
“The other message that they were trying articulate was that they are sincere about the notion that they need to have a more robust public-private partnership,” he said. “The notion that the model of a public-private partnership is still what they are focused on as opposed to some of the more traditional approaches that are being advocated in Congress. That message was well received by a lot of people.”
During the meeting, Schmidt said another way to increase cyber defense is to make it more costly for individuals to commit cyber attacks.
“We need to focus not just on the technology, which concentrates on how cyber attacks occur, but also on the economics, which deals with why cyber attacks occur,” Clinton said.
President Obama attended the meeting for approximately 15 minutes articulating the cyber threat faced by the nation and the need for cooperation to combat the threat.