The digital world has brought humanity countless benefits. At the click of a mouse, one can be connected with someone on the other side of the globe, spend their afternoon online shopping, or learn about any number of obscure topics. It certainly seems like a boundless space with innumerable opportunities.
However, the online world has also brought a slew of new threats.
“Criminals, terrorists, and countries who wish to do us harm have all realized that attacking us online is often easier than attacking us in person,” according to The White House. “As more and more sensitive data is stored online, the consequences of those attacks grow more significant each year.”
Today, the Obama Administration announced the Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which will attempt to develop a long-term strategy to enhance the nation’s cybersecurity and increase public awareness. Part of that plan includes a proposal for $3.1 billion for an “Information Technology Modernization Fund, which will enable the retirement, replacement, and modernization of legacy IT that is difficult to secure and expensive to maintain, as well as the formation of a new position—the Federal Chief Information Security Officer.”
That $3.1 billion is only a portion of the overall $19 billion for cybersecurity that Obama is calling for in his fiscal year 2017 budget, which represents a more than 35% increase from the budget allotment in the previous year.
The plan would establish the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, comprised of the nation’s top strategic, business, and technical thinkers. “The Commission is tasked with making detailed recommendations on actions that can be taken over the next decade to enhance cybersecurity awareness and protections throughout the private sector and at all levels of government,” according to The White House.
Further, the federal government recommends that Americans protect their digital information with not just a password, but also an extra layer of security, such as a fingerprint. Multi-factor authentications will become one of the focuses of the new National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign, which was launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance.
The alliance “will partner with leading technology firms like Google, Facebook, DropBox, and Microsoft to make it easier for millions of users to secure their online accounts, and financial services companies such as MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, and Venmo that are making transactions more secure,” according to The White House.
Already, fingerprint scanning has been implemented in consumer technology and is used by iPhones, and Galaxy and Nexus phones, among others. Additionally, the government will investigate whether it can reduce reliance on social security numbers when it comes to identifying citizens online.
The Dept. of Homeland Security will also look into developing a program meant to certify that networked devices within the Internet of Things meet proper security standards.
“Privacy has been core to our nation from its inception, and in today’s digital age safeguarding privacy is more critical than ever,” according to The White House.
But Obama is facing a hurdle with the proposed budget. According to The New York Times, the Republican chairman of the Senate and House budget committees has not invited the director of the Office of Management and Budget to testify regarding the administration’s plan.