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A Presidential step toward cybersecurity

President Obama's executive order for increased sharing between government agencies and large infrastructure companies endeavors to help bypass Congress in a fast-moving Internet attack.

The White House wants to harden critical computer networks against cyber attacks. In his State of the Union address this week, President Obama warned that attackers could try to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems.

"We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy," said Obama.

The president's executive order is focused on sharing information about cyber threats and will be a voluntary system.  

In particular, Obama would like to make it easier for the goverment to share information about general and specific security threats with the public, according to Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain.

"It's a pretty modest proposal," says Zittrain, but "it does involve some tricky questions of when the government should be alerting the public to things because often if you are to make it known that you know about a certain vulnerability, it can tip off the bad guys."

To hear more about Obama's plans to enhance the country's cybersecurity, click on the audio player above.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio
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