Barack Obama wants US firms to share knowledge about cyber threats

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Barack Obama has signed an executive order urging companies to share information about cyber threats with each other and the federal government.

The US president signed the order at a White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University, which sets out to impress the role public/private partnerships must hold in order to protect consumers.

Obama explained, although technology allows us to do more than we could ever imagine, it's also one of the biggest threats to our security. He told attendees: "It's one of the great paradoxes of our time that the very technologies that empower us to do great good can also be used to undermine and inflict great harm.

"There's only one way to defend America from these cyber threats, and that is through government and industry working together, sharing appropriate information as true partners."

The executive order should give companies the motivation to create centralised clearing houses and shared datacentres where companies and the government can share information about potential cyber threats, allowing them to deal with the risks before they become too serious to be dealt with efficiently.

The UK government launched a similar scheme in March 2013 with the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnerhips (CISP). The CISP allows the government to share cyber security information with private sector companies about current security information and how to manage it.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: "We know cyber attacks are happening on an industrial scale and businesses are by far the biggest victims in terms of industrial espionage and intellectual property theft, with losses to the UK economy running into the billions of pounds annually."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.