Vice President Mike Pence is blaming the administration of former President Barack Obama for not meeting its responsibilities in the cyber sphere. Pence said at a Department of Homeland Security-sponsored National Cyber Summit that the Obama administration “let the American people down when it came to cyber defense.”

“Sadly, previous administrations have let the American people down when it came to cyber defense,” Pence said in New York City. “At the outset of this administration, it became clear from early on: In a very real sense, we inherited a cyber-crisis.”


Also, Pence criticized Russia directly for its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, other than President Donald Trump, who said at the Helsinki summit there may be other countries involved. “While other nations possessed the capability, the fact is, Russia meddled in our 2016 elections,” Pence said. “That is the unambiguous judgment of our intelligence community, and as the President said, we ‘accept the intelligence community’s conclusion.'”


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Pence vowed the White House would take proactive measures to overhaul the country’s cyber-security systems, to prevent another attack and promised in his speech that the Trump administration takes the threat of election interference seriously. “We will continue to work tirelessly to prevent foreign nations and malign actors from hacking into our election infrastructure and changing votes or election outcomes,” he said.

At the same New York event, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out that the cyber risk facing the U.S. includes the potential for election interference similar to what happened in 2016. “The United States will no longer tolerate your interference,” she warned, referring to any foreign hackers trying to disrupt elections. “You will be exposed. And, you will pay a high price.”


Nielsen announced several initiatives to combat future threats, including an election security task force, a supply chain task force and a National Risk Management center. “Our digital lives are now in danger every single day,” Nielsen said, adding that the next 9/11 attack would likely “reach us online” rather “than on an airplane,” according to Politico.

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