Maybe he’s tired of dealing with the headaches.

After the biggest and most prolonged period of hacking breaches against America’s biggest banks, retail giants, and food chains starting over the summer and continuing nearly unabated to the present, President Obama signed an executive order to protect U.S. financial payment systems Friday.

Obama signed an order that will enhance security features for government credit and debit cards with microchips, as opposed to the standard PIN and magnetic strip safety features most U.S. banks use on cards. Many European-issued cards utilize these features already, but the U.S. financial sector has dragged their feet introducing them because of cost.

At this point, the measure seems a token one since the damage to over 250 million U.S. customers who shopped and banked at Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase and had their credit card data boosted by cyber thieves, already happened. And there are more attacks on the way.

The New York Times reported last week that Obama and some of his advisers pointed to Russia as the likely culprit, at least in the case of the JPMorgan Chase, which suffered a massive breach over the summer that went undetected for months. More than 76 million accounts were compromised.

“The idea that somebody halfway around the world could run up thousands of dollars in charges in your name just because they stole your number or because you swiped your card at the wrong place at the wrong time — that’s infuriating,” Obama told reporters at a newser Friday. “For victims it’s heartbreaking. And as a country we’ve got to do more to stop it.”

Edith Ramirez, the chairwoman of the FTC, said in a canned press release:

“Identity theft has been American consumers’ number one complaint for more than a decade, and it affects people in every community across the nation. I welcome the opportunity for the Federal Trade Commission to participate in this new initiative advancing efforts to address this insidious problem on behalf of consumers.”

In the big picture, Obama’s signature on a document ordering federal credit and debit cards incorporate chip and PIN features is already too little, too late.

That’s because cyber security researchers believe the only way to combat the hacks is for U.S. corporations and banks to adopt cyber warfare scale protocols into their security — and thinking outside the box when it comes to thwarting breaches.


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