DURING HIS STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS US President Barack Obama announced plans for a cybersecurity executive order to protect US computer networks from attack.
Obama said that while America is working with Russia on reducing the number of nuclear weapons, so too must the country work on reducing the threat of network security attacks.
He said that the country's enemies are attacking on all fronts and with all manner of assaults and claimed that the time to act is now.
"America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks. Now, we know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private emails. 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, our air traffic control systems," he said.
"We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy."
The president said he has signed an executive order that he said will strengthen US network defenses through increased information sharing and the development of standards to protect national security, jobs and privacy.
He said that the US Congress must also act and pass legislation that gives the government more control over networks and the capacity to secure them, and said that this should be agreed on a bipartisan basis.
Security on all fronts was the message, and Obama reminded his audience that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement fits into this.
The agreement between the US and a number of other countries concerns copyright enforcement. It is not without its critics, but Obama is a supporter.
"We should remember that today's world presents not just dangers, not just threats, it presents opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership," he said, adding that he was pleased to reveal talks with Europe about a transatlantic handshake.
"I'm announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union," he said, "because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs." µ