President Obama Has a Plan to Fix Cybersecurity, But Its Success Depends on President-elect Trump

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In the waning days of Barack Obama’s presidency, his team has a new plan to shore up America’s protections from digital threats. Whether any of it happens, though, is up to President-elect Donald Trump.

Recently, the White House’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity released the results of a nine-month study of America’s cybersecurity problems. But as President Obama acknowledged in a statement accompanying those recommendations, actualizing them is largely out of his hands. He asked the cybersecurity commission to brief President-elect Trump’s transition team on its work as soon as possible. Whether the Trump team will in fact accept the commission’s advice—or even its briefing request—remains a mystery. “No one in Washington knows what he’s going to do,” says Alan Paller, the director of research at the security-focused SANS Institute and a former cybersecurity advisor to the Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. Paller says that even Trump’s potential appointments for cybersecurity policy positions remain an unknown. “It’s very challenging to know who will be picked, and whether this [report] will have anything to do with their priorities.”


President Obama Has a Plan to Fix Cybersecurity, But Its Success Depends on President-elect Trump