The U.S President, Barack Obama, is expected to sign an executive order on Friday which is aimed at encouraging companies to share information about cyber security threats with the government and each other, a response to attacks like that of Sony.
Obama will sign the order at a day-long conference on cybersecurity at Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley.
The order of the summit sets the stage for new private-sector led “Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations” (ISAOs) – hubs, where companies share cyber threat data with each other and with the Department of Homeland Security.
Mr Obama, who will be joining at the summit with top US security officials, is planning to call on private tech firms to share more information with law enforcement, potentially placing him at odds with the companies.
A senior member of Britain’s National Crime Agency is also due to appear, along with executives from Microsoft, Facebook and Google.
Mr Obama “wants to build support for efforts to better protect against cuber-threats and share more information about cyber-attacks”, the White House said.
Michael Daniel, Obama’s cyber coordinator, in a conference call with reporters said: “We believe that by clearly defining what makes for a good ISAO, that will make tying liability protection to sectoral organisations easier and more accessible to the public and to privacy and civil liberties advocates”.
Cybersecurity industry veterans said that Obama’s anticipated order would be a modest step in one of the president’s major priorities which is the defense of companies from cyber attacks.
Obama has proposed legislation to require more information-sharing and limit any legal liability for companies that share too much. Only Congress can provide the liability protection through legislation.
In the last summit, Obama said cybersecurity was a “challenge that we can only meet together, adding that ”it’s going to bring everybody together – industry, tech companies, law enforcement, consumer and privacy advocates, law professors who are specialists in the field, as well as students – to make sure that we work through these issues in a public, transparent fashion.”
Other dignitaries are microsoft vice-president Scott Charney and Chief Executives from Visa, MasterCard and American Express.