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Pioneer Editorial: Strategy to protect the cyberspace

Since the beginning of time, there are those who will always take advantage of others. The methods, however, over time change.

In the 21st century, we've coined it cyberspace crime.

President Barack Obama on Friday elevated cyber crime to a national level by announcing a plan to make the cyberspace safer for both government and the private sector. Wireless communications and the Internet have exploded to take charge of a major segment of our society. As President Obama outlined Friday, the irony of the Information Age is that the very technologies that empower us to create and to build also empower those who would disrupt and destroy.

We rely on the Internet to pay our bills, to bank, to shop, to file our taxes, he said. But there are cyber criminals who would do us harm, by infiltrating our data or seeking new ways of convincing us to type in our bank information. The president even admitted his presidential campaign was hacked for issues statements and travel itinerary -- but making it clear that donor information remained protected.

In calling for a heightened level of cybersecurity, President Obama announced steps that begin with treating our digital infrastructure -- the networks and computers we depend on every day -- as a strategic national asset. They will be treated as a national security priority. "We will ensure that these networks are secure, trustworthy and resilient," he said. "We will deter, prevent, detect and defend against attacks and recover quickly from any disruptions or damage."

To aid that effort, the president on Friday created a new White House office, that led by the cybersecurity coordinator.

A report the president released Friday outlines several steps"

E Begin work to develop a comprehensive strategy to secure America's information and communications networks. A coordinated approach across government will be sought.

E Work with key players, including state and local governments and the private sector, to ensure an organized and united response to future cyber incidents. Plans and resources need to be in place beforehand -- sharing information, issuing warnings and ensuring a coordinated response.

E Strengthen the public/private partnerships that are critical, as the majority of our critical information infrastructure in the United States is owned and operated by the private sector. The federal government will collaborate, but will not dictate security standards for private companies.

E Continue to invest in cutting-edge research and development necessary for the innovation and discovery needed to meet the digital challenges of our time.

E Begin a national campaign to promote cybersecurity awareness and digital literacy from boardroom to classroom, and build a digital workforce for the 21st century.

As we become more and more dependent upon the cyberspace in our daily lives, President Obama's strategy becomes increasingly important and one to which we must pay heed.