As the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, I advise President Obama on the range of security challenges facing the United States every day, from terror threats at home and abroad and pandemic disease, to natural disasters and cybersecurity. Cyber threats are at the top of the President’s list of security concerns. In just the past year, we have seen a significant increase in the frequency, scale, and sophistication of cyber incidents targeting the American people, including everything from large data breaches and significant intrusions to destructive and coercive cyber attacks intended to influence the way ordinary Americans exercise their constitutional rights. In many cases, these threats stem from actors overseas using malicious cyber activities to inflict harm on Americans without ever leaving their desks.
No one connected to the Internet is immune from these harms — not businesses, not private citizens, and not the government. Moreover, the implications of these harms are as real as they are complex — everyone can feel the effects of malicious cyber activity, from the consumer who is forced to deal with the consequences of a data breach affecting a business with whom he or she deals, to the company whose trade secret is stolen by faraway competitors.
We are at a transformational moment in how we approach cybersecurity. The actions we take today will help ensure that the Internet remains an enabler of global commerce and innovation.