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Obama to hit on cybersecurity at upcoming summit

The president plans to visit the San Francisco Bay Area to meet with leaders in cybersecurity and discuss how to best move forward in preventing hacks and cyberattacks.

President Barack Obama will visit the Bay Area to discuss cybersecurity. Official White House photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama is making a pilgrimage to the San Francisco Bay Area as he continues his effort to raise awareness around cyberthreats.

Next Friday, Obama is scheduled to attend a Cybersecurity Summit at Stanford University and then go to a fundraising dinner in San Francisco at the home of a prominent venture capitalist.

Over the past few months, Obama has hammered on the need for the US to beef up cybersecurity. After mentioning cybersecurity reforms in his State of the Union address, the president proposed adding $14 billion to the 2016 budget to better protect government and corporate computer systems from hackers. Obama's trip to the Bay Area is his latest move on this cybersecurity front.

The Cybersecurity Summit at Stanford will be hosted by the White House and will bring together senior leaders in the government and CEOs from the financial, tech and computer-security industries, according to the White House. The topics to be discussed at the summit will center on the sharing of cybersecurity information between private companies and the government, along with how to improve adoption of more-secure payment technologies.

The fund-raising dinner will be hosted by the Democratic National Committee and is scheduled to take place at the home of Sanford Robertson, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Robertson was founder and chairman of Robertson, Stephens & Company, one of the first investment banks in San Francisco that focused on technology companies. He sits on the boards of four companies, which include Dolby Laboratories and Salesforce.com.

Hacks on government and private companies have stepped up over the last couple of years. Several retailers and banks, like Target, Home Depot and JPMorgan, have experienced security breaches and credit card theft; and a cyberattack on Sony Pictures in November, which the US blamed on North Korea, led to a contentious face-off between the two countries. Earlier this week, the Anthem health insurance company revealed it was hit by hackers who stole personal data from up to 80 million people.

"In this interconnected, digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyberassaults both in the private sector and the public sector," Obama said in December. "Now, our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place."