US attempts to increase online security

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Private technology firms were encouraged last week to increase the amount of information shared with the US government and each other in an attempt to combat cybercrime, according to President Barack Obama during a speech at a White House cybersecurity summit. The issue has become a priority in the White House since the hacking of Sony Pictures in December last year. But some key tech firms are concerned about government surveillance.
Private technology firms were encouraged last week to increase the amount of information shared with the US government and each other in an attempt to combat cybercrime, according to President Barack Obama during a speech at a White House cybersecurity summit. The issue has become a priority in the White House since the hacking of Sony Pictures in December last year. But some key tech firms are concerned about government surveillance.

Relations between the US government and tech firms have been strained since electronic surveillance practices were exposed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. According to Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg and Marissa Mayer, chief executives of Facebook and Yahoo, both declined invitations, instead sending less senior executives to the conference.

President Obama is backing the creation of information sharing and analysis organisations (ISAOs) to help firms share information on potential threats. Bringing a message of comprehensive teamwork to beat cyber threats, and a co-ordinated federal approach, overriding the current patchwork of state laws seems practical.

‘We have to work together like never before, the government cannot do this alone and private sector can’t do it alone either as it’s government that often has the latest information on new threats,’ he stated.

Intelligence officials now say cybercrime poses a more pressing threat to national security than terrorism. But the on-going tension and mistrust between the security and tech communities does not bode well.