US President Barack Obama has urged the Congress to pass a cybersecurity bill to boost digital defence against cyber attacks.
On Friday, writing in The Wall Street Journal, Obama warned that such attacks could paralyse the country by disrupting critical infrastructure networks. He described cyber attacks as a “growing danger” and “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face”, Xinhua reported.
The US president warned that foreign governments, criminal syndicates and lone individuals “are probing our financial, energy and public safety systems every day,” as computer systems in critical sectors of the US economy including the nuclear and chemical industries are being increasingly targeted.
He cited an example when last year, a water plant in Texas disconnected its control system from the internet after a hacker posted pictures of the facility’s internal controls.
“It doesn’t take much to imagine the consequences of a successful cyber attack,” Obama wrote. “In a future conflict, an adversary unable to match our military supremacy on the battlefield might seek to exploit our computer vulnerabilities here at home. Taking down vital banking systems could trigger a financial crisis.”
Noting that his administration has made cybersecurity a priority, Obama urged the Congress to pass the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, first introduced in the Senate this February.
The legislation would make it easier for the government and critical-infrastructure companies share data and information on cyber threat, so they could be better prepared, he wrote in the article.