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Obama asks tech sector to help fight hackers

February 14, 2015

US President Barack Obama has called on tech and government to work together to fight cyber crime. He said the two should share more information with each other "as true partners."

Symbolbild Computer Hacker
Image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Speaking at Stanford University on Friday, Obama called on the tech industry to put aside its distrust of the government and instead cooperate more closely against hackers.

"This has to be a shared mission," Obama told the cybersecurity summit.

"So much of our computer networks and critical infrastructure are in the private sector, which means government cannot do this alone. But the fact is that the private sector can't do it alone either, because it's government that often has the latest information on new threats."

Cybersecurity has become a top priority for Obama in the wake of recent attacks, particularly the that US officials blamed on North Korea. In January, the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the US Central Command were hacked by a group supportive of the "Islamic State" jihadist network.

Other attacks have affected major US and international companies, such as health insurer Anthem, retailer Home Depot and bank JP Morgan Chase.

Obama's appearance at the summit was also an attempt to make amends with the tech industry, angered at the exposure of widespread government electronic surveillance by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Senior executives from Google, Facebook and Yahoo stayed away. Much of the data on cyber threats is held by the private sector, which is wary of handing it over to the government following the Snowden revelations.

Obama also signed an executive order on Friday that encourages companies to share more data on cyber threats through voluntary information sharing hubs - connected to each other and the government.

jr/sb (Reuters, dpa)