In the wake of the numerous sophisticated cyberattacks that managed to steal credit and debit card data from various retail stores in the U.S., President Obama on Friday signed an executive order to improve security for credit cards and payment systems used by the government, The New York Times reports.
“You should be able to buy the things that you need without risking your identity, your credit score or your savings,” Obama said at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before signing the order.
Government agencies and offices will have to upgrade their systems to better protect user data, and move to more secure a chip-and-PIN credit cards that are more difficult to clone for hackers who try to steal credit card data. The government issues credit cards to employees for work expenses, and debit cards to distribute Social Security, pension and veterans’ payments.
Banks and financial institutions also plan to move to such cards for regular consumers in the future. Retailers affected by recent data breaches, and other retailers, have already upgraded (or are about to upgrade) to payment systems that support chip-and-PIN cards, The White House has revealed in its press materials.
Obama wants the National Security Council and the Office of Management and Budget to also come up with ways for agencies to better protect the data they make available online, but also for federal law enforcement officials to share more data with the private sector when discovering identity theft rings.
Furthermore, the Federal Trade Commission should work with credit bureaus to speed up identity theft cases with Congress expected to work on a “one clear national standard that brings certainty to businesses and keeps consumers safe” to replace existing data security laws.
A video of Obama’s speech at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is available below.