Cyber czar

Howard Schmidt on the Cybersecurity Czar, Cybercrime and How to Fix Federal Cybersecurity

President Obama on Tuesday appointed Howard Schmidt, the former CSO of Microsoft and Bush administration security adviser, to be the White House Cybersecurity Coordinator. In this podcast, recorded in May soon after Obama’s announcement that he would appoint a security czar, Dennis Fisher talks with Schmidt about the job, the cybercrime problem and what needs to be done to fix it.

Abdicating on a Cyber Security Czar?

In May, President Obama completed his long-awaited “cyberspace policy review,” concluding that cyberspace is a strategic asset that must be safeguarded from attack as a national security priority. 
The president promised to appoint a permanent “cyber czar” who would coordinate the work of federal agencies charged with protecting us. But since “acting cyber-security czar” Melissa Hathaway resigned in August, the post has been unfilled.  Why?   Read the full op-ed [LA Times/James D. Zirin]

Experts Call for Change in Thinking on Federal Cybersecurity

The powers that be in Washington are not known for getting things done quickly, and the current power vacuum in information security in the capital is a painful case in point. The well-documented failure to find a coordinator to oversee security for the country is only one piece of the puzzle, and as time continues to pass with no help on the horizon, those in the know are growing increasingly restless and discouraged by the process.

In his short time in office, Barack Obama has moved swiftly to address many of the problems facing the country: the financial crisis, the impending death of the auto industry and the lack of a playoff system in college football. But, despite his reassurances at a press conference in May, Obama has been stuck in neutral on the issue of cybersecurity.

While much of the reaction to President Obama’s speech on Internet security last week has centered on who Obama will name to the newly created cybersecurity coordinator position, that may be a moot point unless there is a dramatic change in the way that security is handled at the highest levels in Washington, experts say.

Whoever is brave enough to fill the soon-to-be-created cybersecurity czar position will find a rather large pile of challenges waiting. Among them will be dealing with a confused and argumentative Congress, doing a full-scale assessment of the country’s critical infrastructure and reaching out to all of the federal agencies that have been without leadership on cybersecurity for months. But none of those should be the cybersecurity czar’s top priority.

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