October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and in a proclamation released, President Obama said all Americans must understand they have a responsibility to secure cyber networks.
"America relies on our digital infrastructure daily, and protecting this strategic asset is a national security priority," President Obama said.
The information technology infrastructure reaches into almost every facet of the U.S., he said. While citizens view the Internet as a way to exchange ideas and keep up with friends, it also controls vast networks essential for American prosperity, because computers regulate the energy grid.
Computers also help in billions of transactions on Wall Street and keep track of trillions of dollars in bank transactions worldwide, President Obama said. Computers also regulate the transportation system from enabling safe travel in the air to aiding operation of trains and subways.
"We stand at a transformational moment in history, when our technologically interconnected world presents both immense promise and potential risks," the president said. Indeed, computer impulses speed through the air at the speed of light, and computer malware, viruses and worms travel at the same speed.
Cyber networks connect people around the world at the blink of an eye, President Obama noted. But attacks on computer systems can freeze the networks, compromise confidentiality and endanger children.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, themed, "Stop. Think. Connect," highlights the need for protection, the president said, noting this month "provides an opportunity to learn more about the importance of cybersecurity."
The Department of Homeland Security is the lead federal agency in defending critical cybernetworks. DHS works to lead a coalition of federal, state and local agencies and private industry to counter attacks.