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Obama summons CEOs to White House to talk cyber security

March 13, 2013|By Andrew Tangel
  • Cyber security researchers confer in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., office of Dell SecureWorks, a unit of Dell Inc.
Cyber security researchers confer in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., office of… (Stephen Morton / Bloomberg )

In case corporate America didn't fully understand the seriousness of the country's growing cyber threat, President Obama chose a dramatic venue for his meeting Wednesday afternoon with chief executives: the White House's Situation Room.

The White House wouldn't say who would be meeting with the president until after the event, but JPMorgan Chase & Co. confirmed that Jamie Dimon, its chairman and CEO, would attend in the wake of a wave of attacks on the bank by hackers.

The so-called denial-of-service attacks, which overwhelm websites with phony requests, prevented Chase customers from accessing their online banking accounts. Chase customers reported 234 site outages in the last 24 hours, according to the website SiteDown.co. 

A JPMorgan spokesman said Wednesday the Chase site was up and running as of late Tuesday evening, and that no customer information had been compromised. Despite the outages, Chase customers were able to access their accounts and pay bills via phone, mobile banking applications and at branches.

Whatever is discussed with the president, the meeting underscores the Obama administration's renewed emphasis on cyber security.

On Capitol Hill on Tuesday, officials sounded the alarm, telling Congress cyber attacks and espionage posed greater threats to national security than Al Qaeda and other terrorists.

Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the Pentagon's new U.S. Cyber Command, said Wall Street alone was hit by more than 140 attacks in the last six months.

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