In today’s world you can’t turn a corner, change a channel, open a website, or even have a simple conversation without hearing something about the candidates that will potentially become our new Commander in Chief. Trump this, Hillary that, Sanders this, ad infinitum. This is the number one topic across the country and has been for months or even years now. While this is extremely important to our society, there are a great deal of other topics and challenges that still face our country and last month our President submitted his final budget for the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP). The goal of this plan is extremely basic in regards to cybersecurity. It can be summed up to these three points:
- Establish a commission that would develop a strategic plan to attack the nations cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities
- Overhaul and update the government’s network infrastructure to modernize their readiness towards the state of affairs surrounding cybersecurity
- Encourage the American people to secure the information and accounts for themselves as well as their families
Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity
In President Obama’s remarks that were released on the White House’s website, he speaks about the members that would be appointed to this commission. He also addresses how this commission will advise not just this administration, but future administrations as well, on how to aggressively improve the environment across the government to better prepare them to attack the issue of cybersecurity. These initiatives that will be brought forth by this commission are vital to how our government can become a worldwide leader in cybersecurity.
The President states, “They’re going to be thinking about everything from how do we keep the huge databases that exist in the federal government more secure, to how do we more effectively work with critical sectors of our economy, whether it’s the financial sector or our critical infrastructure, like utilities, to make sure their systems are more secure; how do we provide the general public timely and continuously updated information about the best practices they need to keep their families safe, keep their finances safe, keep their health information private; how are we going to improve the process that we purchased — IT software and hardware that makes the government run so that it’s not as vulnerable to hacking and attacks; how do we make sure that we attract the very best personnel to work on these issues.”
Modernizing the Government’s Infrastructure
From their own mouths, the current administration admits to having old, outdated technology in place that is not going to cut it moving forward. They proposed a $3.1 billion line item that would update their infrastructure and put our government in the best place possible to protect the information of our government and our people.
While this is a heavy price to pay, this goes in line with what almost every single person in the tech industry preaches and that is “stay up-to-date”. Any organization running on outdated technology sacrifices a few things, but the main thing is operational efficiency.
Encourage Americans to Secure Their Accounts
President Obama stated that the plan is that the government will team up with technology leaders, such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, MasterCard, Visa and more to provide users with additional layers of security to ensure that our accounts are staying safe. Their focus was on protecting personal data in transactions done online between us and the government. This could be just a stepping stone to providing more security options to the public moving forward, and could change the lay of the land for all online transactions. This is great news for us because having your debit or credit card account hacked as a result of purchasing something online is extremely inconveniencing at the very least.
Beyond just what was previously mentioned, this Plan is calling for the adoption of strong multi-factor authentication for our accounts, and to reduce the need for using our Social Security Numbers as a manner to identify ourselves. Identity theft is in the forefront of our minds nowadays, and this is just another possible measure to help us from having our information compromised.
Cybersecurity National Action Plan: Bottom Line
While CNAP brings up a lot of wonderful points and proposes action to combat cybersecurity attacks, the main thing to take away from it is that the issue of cybersecurity is not a topic for the backburner. Threats and breaches are happening every day, and while the topics that are consuming social media and the news are interesting and warrant attention, there are other threats to our way of life in the United States that are becoming more and more important. Technology is most certainly a gift and a privilege, so we need to treat it that way.