White House claims good ‘cyber hygiene’

When it comes to cybersecurity, the White House tries to be as clean as it can be.

President Obama and his top officials all practice good “cyber hygiene” so that their accounts and sensitive information are safe from hackers, press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday.


Staffers are careful not to get duped by trick links, Earnest said, and officials regularly update their passwords — even on something as simple as a Twitter account.

The new focus on the Obama administration’s cyber practices comes in the wake of hackers’ success gaining access to social media accounts run by the Pentagon’s Central Command. During a 30-minute period earlier this month, people claiming affiliation with Islamic extremists gained control of the Twitter and YouTube accounts and used them to spread messages in support of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

While Earnest called the incident “rather inconvenient,” hackers were only able to gain access to the social media accounts, which are housed on outside servers, and at no time were able to access classified information.

Weak passwords, unsecure networks and other easy-to-fix vulnerabilities often provide some of the biggest headaches for cybersecurity experts. Because hackers can often access an entire network through just one person’s account, ooor attention to those simple safety steps can be disastrous.