On February 9, 2016, President Barack Obama unveiled his new Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP), a comprehensive approach to confront cybersecurity challenges. As articulated in the CNAP Fact Sheet released by the White House, CNAP takes “near-term actions and puts in place a long-term strategy to enhance cybersecurity awareness and protections, protect privacy, maintain public safety as well as economic and national security, and empower Americans to take better control of their digital security.” Below are a few highlights of CNAP.
Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity
On the same day as the CNAP announcement, President Obama issued an Executive Order creating the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity (the “Commission”) to address the ongoing challenges facing the United States related to cyber threats. The Commission, which will comprise twelve (12) members appointed by the President with expertise ranging from national security and law enforcement to business and information technology, will be tasked with making recommendations to “strengthen cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors while protecting privacy.” The Executive Order calls for the Commission to deliver its recommendations to the President in a final report by December 1, 2016.
CNAP also emphasizes the utility of securing online accounts by moving beyond simple passwords, and adding an extra layer of security, such as an additional fingerprint or a single code delivered via text message. The focus on multi-factor authentication is central to the National Cyber Security Alliance’s (“NCSA”) expansion of its STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign. Working in partnership with Logical Operations, New Horizons, CompTIA, and some of the nation’s leading information technology and training companies, NCSA announced a new multi-factor authentication education project designed to provide interactive information sessions for consumers to learn the importance of multi-factor authentication in securing personal information and how to effectively use it.