The President urged Congress to pass law that would better protect the nation from emerging cyber threats.
The President urged Congress to pass law that would better protect the nation from emerging cyber threats.

In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama pushed Congress to bring cybersecurity legislation to fruition in order to combat emerging attacks against the nation.

On Tuesday night, the President delivered a short, but pointed, message to lawmakers on the issue as he laid out a larger national agenda.

“No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids,” Obama said in his address. “We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism.  And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's information. 

“If we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable.  If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe,” he said.

Obama's call to “finally pass” data security legislation, as well law that would defend entities against cyber attacks, follows his attempts last week to jump-start the legislative process for a federal data breach statute enforcing a 30-day notification requirement from the discovery of a breach.

Already, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has announced that he is in the final stages of drafting the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015, which would invoke the 30-day reporting standard, if passed, and prevail over varying state data security and breach notification laws.

Following the late 2014 attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, Obama has increasingly addressed the need to thwart cyber attacks against the nation. And in early January, he imposed sanctions against North Korea, which the U.S. government has attributed the Sony attacks to.

For some IT security practitioners, the President's inclusion of cybersecurity issues in the State of the Union speaks volumes of the importance the topic increasingly commands among policy makers.

In a Wednesday interview with SCMagazine.com, Amit Yoran, president of RSA, said that “anytime you get the president of the United States talking about cybersecurity, it is a statement about the importance of cybersecurity on the world stage.