The outgoing Obama administration has proposed increasing federal cyber-security spending by $5bn, or around a third, in the hope of reaching $19bn in 2017.
Reuters reports that the Democrat president’s proposals, due to be unveiled later on Tuesday, will earmark $3.1bn for technology modernisation at various federal agencies.
The proposed spending increases may face a rough passage through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which controls the US federal government’s purse strings.
The proposed cyber-security spending increases follow a high profile (and hugely damaging) hack against the Office of Personnel Management last year, as well as a generally more turbulent threat environment, with Chinese and Russian state sponsored hackers at the fore of attempts to break into and perhaps even disrupt US government systems.
Other nation states – most notably Iran and North Korea – as well as terrorist groups affiliated to Islamic State, and cybercriminals – also pose a hacking or malware infection risk to federal systems as well as businesses.
Similar pressures prompted UK Chancellor George Osborne to announce plans to double cybersecurity spending and establish a single National Cyber Centre back in November. Cybersecurity spending will rise to £1.9bn ($2.87bn) at a time of ongoing austerity measures elsewhere. Part of the spending increase will go towards previously announced plans to hire 1,900 more staff at GCHQ.
Meanwhile the NSA is going through a major reorganisation, combining its attack and defence sides into a single organisation, the Washington Post reported last weekend in a authoritative story citing current and former government officials.
The White House is due to announce the creation of a presidential commission on cyber security later on Tuesday, according to (unnamed) senior administration officials. The commission will make recommendations on how to strengthen US cyber-defences. The current US government cyber defence system, known as Einstein, was judged inadequate in a report by a government watchdog last month.
Related plans also due to be unveiled today will see the creation of a Federal Privacy Council, with a mandate to develop comprehensive guidelines on the use of personal data, Reuters adds. ®
Building secure multi-factor authentication