Cameron, Obama announce cyber security push

Posted at 1:03 PM, Jan 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-16 13:03:58-05

David Cameron, the British prime minister, and President Barack Obama announced Friday new cooperation on combating cyberattacks, including cyber “war games” designed to identify vulnerabilities in banking networks.

Cameron is at the White House for bilateral talks expected to focus squarely on security after this month’s terror attacks in Paris and growing fears of violent Islamic terror cells inside Europe. Cameron and Obama addressed reporters in a joint press conference after their meeting Friday.

A British official said the two countries would establish “cyber cells” to share information and develop “a system where countries and hostile states and hostile organisations know that they shouldn’t attack us.”

The move comes after high profile breaches at Sony Pictures and the U.S. Central Command, ramping up concern about online safety.

British officials say Cameron flew to Washington with cyber issues at the front of mind. Cameron is worried that companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are allowing terrorists to use their networks unseen by law enforcement. The companies say they have safeguards in place to ensure criminals and terrorists aren’t allowed to communicate.

Cameron told ITV in an interview that tech companies shouldn’t provide a “safe space” for terrorists to communicate or plan attacks.

The news conference will be the first time Obama is questioned about the Paris attacks, and his failure to attend a unity march held in the French capital last weekend. The White House says it was a mistake not to send a higher-profile administration official to the march.