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Obama gathers the troops for cyber security summit

A summit at Stanford University in California is taking place today, aimed at uniting the government and tech companies on issues of national cyber security.

Among the speakers at the conference are US president Barack Obama and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook.

A senior member of Britain's National Crime Agency and chief executives from Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Facebook will all be present, as well as Microsoft vice-president Scott Charney.

The summit, hosted by the White House, will outline US president Barack Obama’s plans for improving cyber security.

Mr Obama "wants to build support for efforts to better protect against cyber-threats and share more information about cyber-attacks", the White House said.

The conference has been organised in response to a series of recent devastating cyber security breaches of American companies, including Sony Pictures Entertainment and Anthem, the second-largest health insurer in the US.

After the attack on Sony, a number of classified materials were leaked, including celebrities’ phone numbers and pay packets, as well as some unreleased blockbuster movies, such as Fury starring Brad Pitt.

Announcing the summit last month, Mr Obama said cyber security was a "challenge that we can only meet together".

"It's going to bring everybody together - industry, tech companies, law enforcement, consumer and privacy advocates, law professors who are specialists in the field, as well as students - to make sure that we work through these issues in a public, transparent fashion," he said.

He will address the conference at 19:15 GMT. Other speakers include Google vice-president Eric Grosse, Facebook chief information security officer Joe Sullivan and his Yahoo counterpart Alex Stamos.

Commenting on the event, Jim Penrose, EVP of Cyber Intelligence at Darktrace, said: “Everyone agrees that increased sharing of ‘threat intelligence’ between the private and public sector will make it harder cyber criminals to commit fraud and monetise the private information they steal.

"The real challenge for the industry and the government is how to detect new targeted attacks against key institutions and critical infrastructure when nobody has the ‘threat intelligence’ beforehand to know you are under attack.

"The uniqueness of each enterprise must be harnessed by a new breed of cyber intelligence technology to find what’s abnormal at net speed, focusing threat analysts onto the new burgeoning threats of tomorrow instead of the known threats of yesterday."