Obama Vows to Address 'Significant Vulnerabilities' After Latest Cyberattack

The president held a news conference at the end of the G7 Summit.

June 8, 2015, 1:03 PM
PHOTO: President Barack Obama arrives for the outreach conference at Elmau Castle in Elmau, Germany, June 8, 2015.
President Barack Obama arrives for the outreach conference at Elmau Castle in Elmau, Germany, June 8, 2015.
Sven Hoppe/EPA

— -- President Obama acknowledged the U.S. government needs to address "significant vulnerabilities" in its technology systems, commenting for the first time on the recent cyberattack that compromised the personal information of 4 million current and former government employees.

"We have known for a long time that there are significant vulnerabilities and these vulnerabilities are going to accelerate as time goes by," the president said at a news conference at the G7 Summit in Germany today.

Obama would not comment on who perpetrated the most recent hacking, but said both state and non-state actors are targeting the United States.

"Both state and non-state actors are sending everything they've got at trying to breach these systems," the president said. "We have to be as nimble, as aggressive and as well-resourced as those trying to break into this system."

The president said the government is working to enhance its practices and upgrade its system to prevent future hacks.

Last week, the Office of Personnel Management said it would begin notifying current and former government employees whose personal information was compromised during the data breach.

Obama's news conference came at the end of the two-day G7 summit, where he huddled with top world leaders to discuss issues ranging from the threat posed by violent extremists to climate change.

But the president also took questions on issues not relating to the summit's agenda. Asked about the FIFA corruption scandal, which has captivated the interest of many European fans of the sport, President Obama said it is important the soccer organization work to restore its "integrity."

“We have to keep in mind that, although, you know, football, soccer, depending on which side of the Atlantic you live on, is a game, it's also a massive business. It is a source of incredible national pride. And people want to make sure that it operates with integrity,” the president said. “The United States, by the way, since we keep on getting better and better at each World Cup, you know, we want to make sure that, you know, a sport that's gaining popularity is conducted in a -- in an upright manner.”

The president also commented on the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the King v. Burwell case, which will determine whether health care subsidies can be used on the federal exchange.

“This should be an easy case," the president said as a decision is expected by the end of the month. "Frankly, it probably shouldn't even have been taken up."

Throughout the G7 summit, Obama urged his European partners to extend economic sanctions against Russia until the Ukraine ceasefire is fully implemented. In a declaration released today, the G7 leaders said they agreed to this extension.

"Sanctions against Russia will remain in place." the president said. "We stand ready to impose additional significant sanctions against Russia."

ISIS was also high on the agenda with President Obama meeting one-on-one with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to discuss the strategy to combat the group in Iraq. It was their first meeting since ISIS fighters took control of Ramadi last month.

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