Obama Presses Trump on Cybersecurity

By Erika Ota Liedtke
Tech and Innovation Writer

Just weeks before President-elect Trump takes office, the Obama White House releases a 100-page suggested cybersecurity plan which includes urgent recommendations for America’s protection from digital threats –  will Donald Trump go along?

The Obama presidency faced the largest cybersecurity breaches and threats of all history, including the rise of bonnets to overwhelm systems, and accusations that Russians hacked the democratic party e-mail system during the 2016 U.S presidential elections.

On Friday, December 2, the presidential commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity released the results of a nine-month study of America’s cybersecurity shortfalls such as the classified documents stolen by Edward Snowden, distrust between Silicon Valley and the U.S government, various foreign cyber-attacks amongst others topics related to the sharing-information.

The commission which included 12 of the brightest minds in business, academia, technology and security delivered recommendations in a one-hundred-page advisory plan, suggesting Trump to take action within the two first years of his presidency.

Beside urging Trump to select a cybersecurity ambassador willing to address the challenge of establishing global rules regards cyber-related operations, it also presented 16 urgent recommendations.

The 16 urgent recommendations press Trump to take action within the 100 days of presidency.

Recommendations suggested implementing a type of “nutritional label” system on internet-of-things devices, proposing to fix the chaotic security on devices such as webcams and routers that are often used by criminals in botnet attacks.

Recently, it was discovered that poorly-designed net-connected cameras were helping attackers in large-scale attacks.

Action items for this proposal aim to increase awareness of cybersecurity for buyers in which the security product ratings would be created by an independent organization – helping decrease the rate of default passwords as well. This will also contribute to the prevention of identity theft, bringing in a workforce of about 100,000 by 2021.

Action items also required the Department of justice to perform a six-month study of legal liabilities on security flaws in internet-of-things devices.

The government also looks to launch a cybersecurity apprenticeship program that trains college students in applied information security, with goal of adding 50,000 “cybersecurity practitioners” in both the government and private sector.

Though the new report states that the government should be the only responsible entity in addressing large foreign cyber-attacks, Obama’s commission stated that the private sector (Silicon Valley) should work in collaboration with the government to put the best talent together, and develop a more secure system overall.

Within one of its recommendations, it asked Congress for more research and development funding for an “integrated government–private-sector cybersecurity roadmap,” funding cheaper and safer computer systems.

Obama suggests that the Trump office treats the recommendations as a guide, and writes, “Now it is time for the next administration to take up this charge and ensure that cyberspace can continue to be the driver for prosperity, innovation, and change both in the United States and around the world.”

It is still a mystery whether or not the Trump office will accept this advisory plan.
Trump has not addressed any comments on the report. Though he has promised a “Cyber Review Team” with people from the military, private sector, and law enforcement which included policies similar to those stated in the report, there is still not a clear definition as to how cyber security policies will be.

Washington still waits for a response, and so do we.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 13th print edition.

Contact Erika at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s