President Barack Obama recently signed an executive order aimed at improving security for consumer information, . This move signals the Obama administration's support for the fight against cyber-related breaches in the public sector. Recent data breaches have worsened consumer concerns over the lack of security surrounding payment systems.
Now, the president's order would strengthen security by requiring government agencies that oversee payment card transactions use more effective technology, including chip and PIN cards instead of regular payment cards with magnetic strips, making it harder for criminals to copy credit or debit card information.
Obama issued a strong statement against the fraud and financial impacts affecting consumers due to identity theft and data breaches.
"The idea that somebody halfway around the world could run up thousands of dollars in charges in your name just because they stole your number or because you swiped your card at the wrong place and the wrong time, that's infuriating," Obama said, according to the Post. "For victims, it's heartbreaking. And as a country, we've got to do more to stop it."
The president's move to increase cybersecurity could motivate the private sector to improve defenses, as well.
Criticism Against Federal Government Security
In the past, the federal government has had to solve numerous cybersecurity challenges. The administration's health insurance portal HealthCare.gov was the subject of scrutiny for some lawmakers after they claimed the site is vulnerable to data breaches. In September, the U.S. Government Accountability Office warned the website did not have proper security measures designed to protect itself from cyberattacks, .
Other obstacles the government must overcome is security in the cloud. With the risk of a data breach in a cloud potentially leading to more costs, according to a study by the Ponemon Institute, governments have the responsibility of stemming the impact of these incidents and protecting consumers, . However, these security challenges are compounded by the constantly evolving developments in technology that make preparing for cyberattacks in the cloud especially difficult.
"The cloud is so new to government that our security, risk management and legal council need to better understand the risks and how the contracts need to be different in terms of indemnification language for each of the cloud environments," Bill Kehoe, chief information officer of King County, told Govtech.
With these challenges to protecting consumer data, the federal government shows it is listening to consumer worries and stepping up the battle against identity theft and security breaches.