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President Obama on Cyber Security Awareness

President Obama this week issued a short video address discussing the importance of cyber security awareness. The three-minute clip offers little in the way of startling revelation or news. But it is probably the most the president has had to say publicly about the topic since May, when he delivered a 16-minute speech saying he planned to create a new cyber security office at the White House that would be led by an as-yet-unappointed coordinator.

In this latest remarks, Obama said he would soon appoint someone to that position, and offered thoughts about the need for a "public private partnership," to secure America's cyber infrastructure. The president closed with some basic tips that regular Internet users can observe to keep their corner of the Web safe and secure.

Obama said he has designated October as Cyber Security Awareness Month. Indeed, he signed a proclamation on Oct. 1 declaring it to be so. The idea dates back to 2004, and is the brainchild of the National Cyber Security Alliance, an education and outreach effort backed by companies like Cisco, Google, McAfee, Microsoft, and Symantec.

Interestingly, Congress has been trying for five years now without success to pass a resolution officially recognizing October as Cyber Security Awareness Month. It's not clear why Congress has yet to give the nod to such a noncontroversial measure, which doesn't cost taxpayers a dime.

Still, there are signs lawmakers may succeed this year. On Sept. 30, the Senate passed a resolution, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), to support the goals and ideals of Cyber Security Awareness Month. On Oct. 6, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Committee on Homeland Security's subcommittee on cybersecurity, introduced a similar resolution, and according to a spokesperson for the National Cyber Security Alliance, the measure is expected to come up for a vote on the House floor as early as Tuesday.

Updated, 6:13 p.m. ET: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed the main sponsor of the Senate measure.

By Brian Krebs  |  October 19, 2009; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  Safety Tips , U.S. Government  
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