The Obama administration is asking $19 billion in funding to boost cyber security in 2017, an increase of $5 billion over the current fiscal year. This proves the increasing concern over cyber security threats as the Obama’s top intelligence officials warned Congress that computer attacks were among the most imminent security challenges facing the nation.

The increased funding is a part of a broader cyber security plan recently announced by the administration that urged for major upgrades of government technology resources, and a new push to hire competent professionals with good cyber skills in the public sector, as reported by the Financial Times.

Photo: La Republica Ecuador.

The new budget needs to be approved by the Republican-controlled Congress, which has already publicly said that it will not consider some of the elements of the administration’s budget for 2017. The increase sought by the Obama administration follows a high profile hack last year that released sensitive information about 20 million individuals to which China is the main suspect but there is no an official accusation.

Government resources in cyber security are known to be really old, that is why the main focus on this $19-billion funding is directing up to $3.1 billion just for upgrading computer systems, which are decades old.

The federal government has spend decades trying to improve its systems to deal with cyber threats but according to officials, this new plan represent that the changes made in the past were not enough to provide the necessary level of security.

“It is no secret that too often government IT is like an Atari game in an Xbox world,” President Barack Obama said in an article on Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal. “The Social Security Administration uses systems and code from the 1960s. No successful business could operate this way,” he added.

The project also comes with a new federal chief information officer appointed and a focus on attracting cyber-professionals to work for the government, including scholarships and forgiving students loans.

Source: The Financial Times