By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2010 - Americans everywhere prosper because of the nation's digital infrastructure, and therefore all citizens must defend it, President Barack Obama told the nation today.
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and in a proclamation released today, Obama said all Americans must understand they have a responsibility to secure cyber networks.
"America relies on our digital infrastructure daily, and protecting this strategic asset is a national security priority," Obama wrote.
The information technology infrastructure, he continued, reaches into almost every facet of the United States. While citizens look on the Internet as a way to exchange messages and ideas and to keep up with friends, the president wrote, it also controls vast networks essential for American prosperity. Computers regulate the energy grid.
Computers help in billions of transactions on Wall Street and keep track of trillions of dollars in bank transactions worldwide, Obama wrote. Computers also regulate the transportation system, he added, from enabling safe travel in the air to aiding operation of trains and subways.
"We stand at a transformational moment in history, when our technologically interconnected world presents both immense promise and potential risks," the president said in his proclamation. Indeed, computer impulses speed through the air at the speed of light, and computer malware, viruses and worms travel at the same speed.
Cyber networks connect people around the world at the blink of an eye, Obama noted. But attacks on computer systems, he added, can freeze the networks, compromise confidentiality and endanger children.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, themed, 'Stop. Think. Connect," highlights the need for protection, the president wrote, noting this month "provides an opportunity to learn more every about the importance of cybersecurity."
The Department of Homeland Security is the lead federal agency in defending critical cybernetworks. DHS works to lead a coalition of federal, state and local agencies and private industry to counter attacks.
"I urge all Americans to visit DHS.gov/Cyber and OnGuardOnline.gov for more information about the practices that can enhance the security of our shared cyber networks," Obama wrote.
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