Obama’s cybersecurity plan calls for adoption of strong multi-factor authentication methods

February 11, 2016 - 

President Barack Obama outlined a Cybersecurity National Action Plan this week, featuring an expanded cybersecurity budget, a new federal chief information security officer, and an emphasis on promoting multi-factor authentication.

A series of announcements and executive orders from the White House aim to modernize US government IT security and privacy with a Federal Privacy Council, investment in new technology, and partnerships with industry stakeholders like the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).

“In partnership with industry, we’re launching a new national awareness campaign to raise awareness of cyberthreats and encourage more Americans to move beyond passwords—adding an extra layer of security like a fingerprint or codes sent to your cellphone,” Obama wrote in a Wall Street Journal editorial.

The NCSA immediately followed Obama’s announcement by unveiling a letter of commitment from companies and nonprofits to further cybersecurity educaton and awareness, as well as an expansion of the “STOP. THINK. CONNECT.” program. Partnering with leading IT and training companies, the NCSA will bring a new multi-factor authentication education program to 15 or more cities in the US in 2016.

The success of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. program and multi-factor push from the White House will be measurable in part by the increase in demand for multi-factor solutions. Among the service providers positioned to meet the increase in demand for additional identification factors is MorphoTrust.

MorphoTrust was awarded a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (PDF) in September to run a pilot for tax collecting agencies in Georgia and North Carolina to reduce tax fraud.

Under the program, Morphotrust eID authenticates the identity of the taxpayer with records stored by state motor vehicle agencies. The Cybersecurity National Action Plan calls for federal government adoption “of effective identity proofing and strong multi-factor authentication methods,” and a savings by Georgia or North Carolina from tax fraud reduction could provide the evidence other states and agencies need to adopt biometric authentication factors, along with a financial incentive.

In related news, enrollment in the Transportation Safety Authority’s TSA Precheck program delivered by MorphoTrust reached two million people in January, demonstrating the company’s success partnering with a federal agency.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.