U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday that the recent cyberattack that put millions of federal workers’ personal information in jeopardy was another indication of the “vulnerability” of government systems. And until Washington responds in a concrete way, he added, such problems are only going to proliferate.
“We have known for a long time that there are significant vulnerabilities,” Obama said during a press conference after the G7 summit in Germany. “And these vulnerabilities are going to accelerate for a long time.”
The President called on Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation that he says would address some of the vulnerabilities faced by government systems. He also touted his own administration’s efforts to update old systems to better protect against such problems, including the government’s anti-hacking Einstein program, which detected the latest breach.
Obama would not comment on whether or not Chinese actors were behind the attack on the Office of Personnel Management, which is essentially the federal government’s human resources department. Some 4 million former and current federal employees are at risk of having their information stolen. U.S. officials said last Thursday that they believe the attack was launched from China, but as TIME’s Mark Thompson points out they have not yet laid out evidence to confirm that’s the case. In a piece Friday, Thompson found:
“The problem is not going to go away,” Obama said Monday, adding that the U.S. has to be as “nimble, aggressive, and well-resourced” as those trying to break into these systems.
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