Feeds

Schmidt named Obama cybersecurity czar

Months long wait finally over

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Howard Schmidt was confirmed as President Obama's cybersecurity czar on Tuesday, confirming an earlier prediction by AP that the long vacant role was about to be filled.

Schmidt is a former White House security advisor to George W. Bush with extensive career spells at eBay and Microsoft. He certainly has the diplomatic skills and technical knowledge to fulfill the role, but his selection comes after months of dithering and inaction on an appointment, raising questions of its own.

Schmidt

Schmidt at a recent London information security conference

Obama declared cyber security a priority and ordered a broad review ten months ago. Melissa Hathaway, who recommended the creation of a cybersecurity czar after running the two month review for the Obama administration, resigned as an Obama advisor back in August after losing her earlier interest in becoming White House cybersecurity chief.

Delays in naming a cybersecurity coordinator, together with speculation that other candidates - including Microsoft's Scott Charney and Congressman Tom Davis - had turned down the job, increased the feeling that the role would come with responsibility but no power. For one thing, the cybersecurity chief will be obliged to report to both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council.

Schmidt faces a huge swathe of problems, including formulating an updated strategy for defending critical national infrastructure (utilities, transport, banking etc.) from hacking attacks, as well as a plan for raising consumer awareness about risks such as scareware and phishing. He will have to negotiate a political minefield to get anything done, not least because several agencies (including the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security) are vying for alpha male status in defining federal cybersecurity strategy.

A White House statement on Schmidt's appointment can be found here. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.