Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says that President Barack Obama has failed to take cyberthreats seriously, as shown in the recent data breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
"If you rely on the internet, you need to invest in protecting it," Bush writes in an opinion piece posted on Medium
on Monday. "This is a lesson for average citizens, IT managers, and government bureaucrats alike, who need to take proactive steps to educate themselves and protect their data, but, above all, it is a lesson for the Commander in Chief."
Because so much of the federal government and the U.S. military relies on the internet "to function," it is imperative that cybersecurity "be a priority for the U.S. government, and yet it is not," the Florida Republican writes.
To combat this problem, it is key that everyone in society appreciates what the internet contributes to our economy as well as "the importance of the internet's infrastructure . . . and this is where Presidential leadership is so important," he argues.
Bush cites the recent news that the White House OPM's computer networks were breached by Chinese hackers,
and that this vulnerability was "identified as much as a year ago."
Bush says this breach "is emblematic of the cultural failure of the Obama Administration to take these threats seriously."
"[N]o one can suggest the government did not understand the value of millions of personnel records — many of which included the intrusive and sensitive personnel questionnaire," the presidential hopeful says.
"OPM officials knew this data was valuable, knew it was sensitive, and knew it was vulnerable," he added.
Obama signed an executive order
in April aimed at combating cyberthreats around the country, before the OPM breach was reported.
"What use is it that President Obama issued an Executive Order or gave a thoughtful speech about cybersecurity if his own Office of Personnel Management — the human resources department of the entire U.S. Government — failed to take basic steps to protect the sensitive personal information of millions of its employees?" Bush asks.
"Cybersecurity should be considered a critical element of our national defense, economic well-being, and national resilience," the former Florida governor contends.
"We need a President with the experience and trust necessary to mobilize public and private resources to ensure that our critical infrastructure, networks, and communications remain secure."
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