White House: ‘Work as a community’ for cybersecurity

The White House wants private companies’ help to secure the country’s cyber networks.

In a blog post on Friday, White House cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel called for companies to weigh in to the federal government and help coordinate to fight hackers.

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“Just as a neighborhood bands together to raise its collective safety, we can work as a community to strengthen our collective defenses to make it harder for those who wish to cause harm,” wrote Daniel, who is sometimes referred to as the Obama administration’s cyber czar.

For one, companies can weigh in on the Commerce Department’s framework for protecting critical infrastructure networks like Wall Street and utility grids. The department is currently accepting comments on the framework until Oct. 10.

Additionally, companies can put their heads together with the government to figure out how to respond to specific attacks, he said.

“Collectively, we need to understand what the government can do and we need to understand what the private sector can do,” Daniel wrote. “From that understanding would flow the information requirements to take those actions, and it would define who needs to provide what kind of information to whom on what timeline.”

The administration has repeatedly asked Congress to pass some type of law that would allow for companies and the government to more easily share information back and forth and combine their strengths.

So far, the bills that have tried to accomplish that have run into opposition from civil liberties defenders, who fear that they would allow too much personal information to be shuttled to spy agencies like the National Security Agency.