President-elect Donald Trump and President Barak Obama see eye-to-eye on at least one thing. They both view cybercrime as a massive threat to the citizens, the businesses, and the government of the United States.
The White House issued an Executive Order in April 2015, in which Obama stated: "The increasing prevalence and severity of malicious cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with this threat.
The U.S. government will invest over $19 billion for cybersecurity as part of Obama's Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget. This represents a more than 35 percent increase from FY2016 in overall federal resources for cybersecurity, a necessary investment to secure our nation.
Trump recently spoke to the Retired American Warriors PAC in Herndon, Va., and said "Cyber theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States by far. As president, improving cybersecurity will be an immediate and top priority for my administration. One of the very first things I will do is to order a thorough review of our cyber defenses and weaknesses."
While Obama stopped short of stating the U.S. is at 'cyberwar' when he declared the national emergency, Trump's remarks in Herndon seem to imply he views it more seriously. "As a deterrent against attacks on our critical resources, the United States must possess — and has to — the unquestioned capacity to launch crippling cyber counter attacks. And I mean crippling, crippling." Those words sound like war.
A recent report published by Cybersecurity Ventures states that "World War III is underway, and it’s cyber", which is corroborated by numerous cybersecurity experts. (Disclaimer: Steve Morgan is founder and CEO of Cybersecurity Ventures.)
Obama invited Trump to the White House for a transition meeting, which is expected to take place tomorrow. Cybercrime, and how the $19 billion cybersecurity budget is allocated are likely talking points.
A businessman-turned-politician, Trump appears particularly sensitive to the cybercrime damages on U.S. corporations. "JPMorgan Chase, massive bank, had 73 million e-mails stolen. eBay was involved and gave up 150 million passwords. Target was attacked and gave up 40 million credit card numbers. Attacks like these are happening on a regular basis both in the United States and around the world, and the costs in terms of privacy, our security and our financial sector are truly extraordinary," added Trump, in his speech to the Retired American Warriors.
There should be a lot of cyber information coming out of the Trump administration in early 2017. Trump's vision for cybersecurity -- which is summarized on the DonaldJTrump.com website -- outlines numerous points including mandatory cyber awareness training for all government employees while remaining current on evolving methods of cyber-attack. It is doubtful that Hillary Clinton or any of her subordinates will be running the training programs.