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12/1/2011
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Obama Fortifies Efforts To Protect Critical Infrastructure

President asks administration to beef up efforts to work with private sector to keep power grid, Internet and other foundational U.S. networks safe.

Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
Deeming December "Critical Infrastructure Protection Month", President Obama has called on the feds to "reflect on" their responsibility to keep U.S. electricity, financial networks, and other critical control facilities safe from cyber threats.

In a presidential proclamation, the president highlighted efforts his administration is taking to establish partnerships with both regional governments and the private sector to ensure the security of the foundation of the infrastructure that provides people in the United States with critical services.

"To reduce risks and improve our national preparedness, we are fortifying our partnerships with state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to close gaps in our protection programs and promote collaboration at all levels of government," he said. "We are also engaging a wide variety of private stakeholders, including critical infrastructure owners and operators, to expand and reinforce critical infrastructure protection."

The administration has enacted a number of efforts to team with stakeholders in both the public and private sector to protect systems like the power grid, the Internet, the distribution of water, and others.

[ The feds are learning how to fight off cyber attacks. Read U.S. Cyber Command Practices Defense In Mock Attack. ]

These partnerships are crucial because the federal government, which is ultimately responsible for protecting critical infrastructure, does not manage or control the bulk of these systems and relies on those that do to keep it apprised of threats.

To this end, information sharing between agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense with those in control of these systems is becoming more common.

One such effort is the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cyber Pilot, in which the DOD and DHS are working with Internet service providers and defense contractors to share classified information about cyber threats to provide stronger cybersecurity protection.

Indeed, Obama said that cybersecurity remains a "priority" for his administration, which plans to continue to take "decisive action" against threats by working in real time with those who can mitigate cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.

"To ensure the safety of our most vital operations, we are working to give public and private organizations the ability to obtain cybersecurity assistance quickly and effectively," he said.

Sensitive customer and business data is scattered in hidden corners of your infrastructure. Find and protect it before it winds up in the wrong hands. Also in the new issue of Dark Reading: The practical side of data defense. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)

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