Obama: Boosting cybersecurity requires long-term vigilance


WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama says boosting cybersecurity in the U.S. will require long-term vigilance and overhauling systems currently in place.

Obama is speaking in the Oval Office after meeting with Tom Donilon, who Obama says will lead a new commission on cybersecurity. Donilon is Obama’s former national security adviser and will be joined on the panel by former IBM chief executive Sam Palmisano as vice chairman.

The president says the Internet has brought about incredible opportunity and wealth. But he says it also means more information about people’s private lives can be downloaded.

Obama says the panel will deliver a report by December 1 about how to strengthen critical systems and attract top minds to work on cybersecurity.

He is creating the commission following a massive breach of government data last year.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday appointed his former national security adviser, Tom Donilon, to lead a new commission on cybersecurity.

Donilon will serve as chairman of the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Obama will appoint former IBM chief executive Sam Palmisano to serve as vice chairman.

Obama issued an executive order establishing the bipartisan commission earlier this month. It comes as federal agencies are facing ever-more sophisticated attacks. Among the most serious breaches in the past year occurred when hackers gained access to the personal information of more than 22 million U.S. federal employees, retirees, contractors and others, and millions of sensitive and classified documents maintained by the Office of Personnel Management. Fingerprint images belonging to some 5.6 million people were stolen.

The commission that Donilon and Palmisano will lead will report to the president with specific findings and recommendations before the end of this year. The commission will consist of up to 12 members and make detailed recommendations to strengthen cybersecurity in the public and private sectors. Many companies have long had such officials in place to deal with cyber intruders.

The White House said the pair bring unique expertise to the job, with Donilon familiar with how cyber intrusions harm national security and Palmisano providing private sector expertise.

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