President Barack Obama had a meeting with 13 chief executive officers at the White House regarding the growing problem on cyber security and asked them to support a legislation that would fight against corporate espionage and computer warfare, according to the report from the New York Times.
Pres. Obama met the CEOs at the situation room of the White House. According to White House officials, the meeting is a two-way information exchange between the President and the leaders of corporation. President Obama wants to know directly from the CEOs about the susceptibility of their companies when their computer networks are under attack and to discuss the government’s initiatives in resolving the issue on cyber security.
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According to White House secretary Jay Carney, “He has seen as various corporations and business leaders have gone public with their concerns about cyber security and the effects of breaches of cyber security on their operations.”
“He also wants to convey to them how seriously he takes this issue and what he believes the right steps are moving forward. And he certainly hopes that out of this meeting and the many others he has on this topic, that we will build the kind of consensus necessary to compel Congress to take appropriate action,” added Carney.
Some of the CEOs who attended the cyber security meeting include Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), Randall Stephenson of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Wesley Bush of Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), Brian Moynihan of Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM).
Also present were CEOs from Xerox Corporation (NYSE:XRX), American Electric Power Company, Inc. (NYSE:AEP), Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO), Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON), United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS), ITT Exelis Inc (NYSE:XLS), Siemens AG (ADR) (NYSE:SI) and Frontier Communications (NASDAQ:FTR).
During a previous interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, President Obama acknowledge that there is an increasing threat in cybersecurity when asked about the comment of House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers that China is winning the war on cyber espionage.
President Obama reminded all to be “careful with war analogies” when discussing the issue about computer wars. He said, “There’s a big difference between– them (China) engaging in cyber espionage or cyber attacks and– obviously– a hot war. What– is absolutely true– is that we have seen – a steady increase in cyber security threats. Some are state sponsored. Some are just sponsored by criminals.”
The President emphasized that billions of dollars are lost when industrial secrets are stolen. He said, “Our companies are put into competitive disadvantage. You know, there are disruptions to our systems that involve everything from our financial systems to some of our infrastructure. And this is why I’ve taken some very aggressive executive actions. But we need Congress to act.”
In addition, President Obama said, “ We’ve put before Congress what exactly we need that will protect people’s privacy and civil liberties, but will also make sure that our overall system, both public and private, are protected from these kinds of attacks. There are ways that we can harden our critical infrastructure, our financial sector. The only thing that’s holding us back from doing that right now is we haven’t gotten the legislative authority out of Congress. They need to get this done.”