Obama Proclaims Cybersecurity Awareness Month

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2010 — Amer­i­cans every­where pros­per because of the nation’s dig­i­tal infra­struc­ture, and there­fore all cit­i­zens must defend it, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma told the nation today.

Octo­ber is Nation­al Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty Aware­ness Month, and in a procla­ma­tion released today, Oba­ma said all Amer­i­cans must under­stand they have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to secure cyber net­works.

“Amer­i­ca relies on our dig­i­tal infra­struc­ture dai­ly, and pro­tect­ing this strate­gic asset is a nation­al secu­ri­ty pri­or­i­ty,” Oba­ma wrote.

The infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy infra­struc­ture, he con­tin­ued, reach­es into almost every facet of the Unit­ed States. While cit­i­zens look on the Inter­net as a way to exchange mes­sages and ideas and to keep up with friends, the pres­i­dent wrote, it also con­trols vast net­works essen­tial for Amer­i­can pros­per­i­ty. Com­put­ers reg­u­late the ener­gy grid.

Com­put­ers help in bil­lions of trans­ac­tions on Wall Street and keep track of tril­lions of dol­lars in bank trans­ac­tions world­wide, Oba­ma wrote. Com­put­ers also reg­u­late the trans­porta­tion sys­tem, he added, from enabling safe trav­el in the air to aid­ing oper­a­tion of trains and sub­ways.

“We stand at a trans­for­ma­tion­al moment in his­to­ry, when our tech­no­log­i­cal­ly inter­con­nect­ed world presents both immense promise and poten­tial risks,” the pres­i­dent said in his procla­ma­tion. Indeed, com­put­er impuls­es speed through the air at the speed of light, and com­put­er mal­ware, virus­es and worms trav­el at the same speed.

Cyber net­works con­nect peo­ple around the world at the blink of an eye, Oba­ma not­ed. But attacks on com­put­er sys­tems, he added, can freeze the net­works, com­pro­mise con­fi­den­tial­i­ty and endan­ger chil­dren.

Nation­al Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty Aware­ness Month, themed, ‘Stop. Think. Con­nect,” high­lights the need for pro­tec­tion, the pres­i­dent wrote, not­ing this month “pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn more every about the impor­tance of cyber­se­cu­ri­ty.”

The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty is the lead fed­er­al agency in defend­ing crit­i­cal cyber­net­works. DHS works to lead a coali­tion of fed­er­al, state and local agen­cies and pri­vate indus­try to counter attacks.

“I urge all Amer­i­cans to vis­it DHS.gov/Cyber and OnGuardOnline.gov for more infor­ma­tion about the prac­tices that can enhance the secu­ri­ty of our shared cyber net­works,” Oba­ma wrote.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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