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RSA 2009: US cyber director sets stage for internet security improvements

Melissa Hathaway, acting US senior director for cyberspace, gave little away about the Obama administration's 60-day review in her keynote at the RSA Conference 2009 in San Francisco yesterday.

The review report, completed in mid-April, includes recommendations for cybersecurity improvements and an action plan for identifying the areas of improvement.

The report itself is due soon, sparking some speculation ahead of Hathaway's appearance at the RSA Conference that the report would be released yesterday, or at least some details revealed.

Hathaway said the report outlines the beginning of a way forward in building a reliable, resilient, trustworthy digital infrastructure for the future.

"It provides the president with recommendations for a White House organisational structure that can effectively address cyberspace-related issues," she said.

According to Hathaway, the findings of the report will be discussed publicly only once the president and his administration have had an opportunity to review it.

However, Hathaway indicated that the US would not be tackling the challenge of cybersecurity in isolation.

"There is a unique opportunity for the United States to work with countries around the world to make the digital infrastructure a safe and secure place that drives prosperity and innovation for all nations," she said.

In line with the emerging theme of co-operation at the RSA Conference, Hathaway said it was only through partnerships nationally and internationally that cybersecurity can be improved.

While the federal government has the responsibility to protect and defend the country, the private sector designs, builds, owns, and operates most of the digital infrastructures.

"Cybersecurity isn't only the responsibility of governments and corporations, but that of individuals, including each of us here today, as well," she said.


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