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Obama unveils cybersecurity “national action plan”

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President Barack Obama has unveiled a cybersecurity “national action plan” as his intelligence chief warned of growing risks from new technologies that open more doors to hackers.

Obama asked for USD 19 billion for cybersecurity efforts in his budget request, a 35 per cent increase from current levels, with USD 3 billion earmarked to help modernise the patchwork of computer systems used in government agencies.

“More and more, keeping America safe is not just about more tanks or more airplanes,” Obama told reporters at the White House yesterday.

“We also have to bolster our security online. As we’ve seen in the past few years, and just in the past few days, cyber threats pose a danger not only to our national security but our economic security.”

US intelligence chief James Clapper underscored those risks at a Senate hearing, pointing out that wider adoption of connected devices and new systems that rely on artificial intelligence can open up doors to hackers.

Clapper said “smart” Internet of Things (IoT) devices for autonomous vehicles, household appliances and systems such as electric power grids create new vulnerabilities.

The intelligence chief named Russia, China, Iran and North Korea as “leading threat actors” which pose risks for US security, and said these risks are growing as technology evolves and moves into new devices.

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