Feb. 14, 2013 – NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker said the association appreciates President Obama’s executive order on cybersecurity, calling it “a good first step,” but said more needs to be accomplished legislatively to safeguard the U.S. financial system and nation overall.
The executive order, signed Tuesday just ahead of the president’s State of the Union address, includes three major components: information sharing, privacy and the development of voluntary standards with industry partners. The information sharing component of the executive order requires the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to establish a process for disseminating information about a cyber threat to targeted private entities within 120 days.
In his State of the Union address Tuesday evening, President Obama specifically cited the dangers that cyber threats pose to the financial system. “We know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private email,” he said. “We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems.”
The president also called upon Congress to take action “by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks.”
NAFCU agrees that further action from Congress is needed. As outlined in its five-point plan for credit union regulatory relief, NAFCU is advocating for a 21st century approach to data security that would require, among other things, national standards for data security, liability if such standards are not met and immediate notification to financial institutions and their account holders when breaches occur.
More information about the executive order was explained by administration officials during a briefing at the Commerce Department Wednesday. Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank and others discussed details of the order. Officials also announced that the administration will issue a request for information to implement the order’s requirement that the government establish voluntary standards. NAFCU Senior Regulatory Affairs Counsel Tessema Tefferi attended the briefing.
Credit unions can learn more about preparing for cyber threats by attending NAFCU’s Technology and Security Conference Feb. 26-28 in Austin, Texas. Register online today.