President’s Cybersecurity Commission Releases Report

President Barack Obama received a report today from a bipartisan commission that addresses cybersecurity challenges facing government and industry. Annie Antón, professor and chair of the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing, served on the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. She said the report includes opportunities for new research and advances in engineering.

The commission issued its consensus report addressing six imperatives and offering action items that can be implemented by President-elect Donald Trump and his team.

Antón highlighted recommended steps that would be of special interest to Georgia Tech students, faculty and researchers.

The commission declared that cybersecurity should be a basic requirement for the accreditation of any programs in engineering and computing disciplines.

“More than 1.5 million cybersecurity professionals are needed globally by 2020,” Antón said.

She also emphasized the recommendation that all IoT (Internet of Things) devices should be secure by default. These devices include everything from refrigerators to fitness trackers to the drill of an oil rig.

“This is a game changer because it takes the burden off the end users and places it on the engineers and manufacturers who design and create IoT products,” she said.

Another action item calls on the federal government to make the development of usable, affordable and inherently secure resilient systems its top priority for cybersecurity research and development.

Antón also stressed a recommendation for the federal government to support cybersecurity-focused research in traditionally underfunded areas such as policy, law and the social impacts of privacy and security technologies, as well as issues specific to small and medium-sized businesses.

“This highlights the need for more interdisciplinary classes and research,” she said. “It became clear to the commission that the human factors of cybersecurity are not well understood and require focused research nationally.”

Georgia Tech is already working in the area through programs such as the Institute’s Privacy Technology, Policy and Law course, Antón said.  

The commission was created in February by presidential executive order as part of the Cybersecurity National Action Plan. The group, which has been working since April, was tasked with making detailed recommendations on ways to strengthen cybersecurity in public and private sectors.

The 12-person nonpartisan commission included cybersecurity experts from government, academia and industry.

“The quality of thoughtful deliberation and debate among the commissioners was inspiring throughout this past year,” Antón said. “Debates were not held along party lines, but instead were constructive and focused solely on determining what was best for our nation and for securing the digital economy.”

Antón, an expert on software compliance with federal privacy and security regulations, has served on a number of privacy and security advisory boards, including for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute of Standards and Technologies.

See a full list of commission members here.