On February 13, 2015, President Obama spoke forcefully on cybersecurity threats at the Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection Summit, and signed an Executive Order designed to encourage the sharing of cyber-threat information through the formation of “hubs” – Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs).

The President observed that much of the United States’ critical infrastructure runs on networks connected to the Internet, resulting in vulnerabilities that foreign governments and criminals are probing every day. The President outlined four basic principles that should guide the efforts to combat cyber threats:

  • A shared mission between the private sector and the government;
  • Focus by private and public sectors on their unique strengths;
  • Flexibility in the approach to cybersecurity; and
  • Protection for the privacy and civil liberty of the American people.

The President called the protection against cyber-threats a shared mission because neither government nor the private sector can defend against cyber-attacks alone. While the government has many capabilities, it is neither appropriate nor possible for the government to secure the networks of the private sector. On the other hand, the private sector is at the cutting edge of technology, but does not always have the situational awareness, the ability to warn other companies in real time, or the capacity to coordinate a response across companies to a cyber-attack.