White House names Howard Schmidt as cyber tsar

Schmidt, a former cybersecurity advisor to the Bush administration, will co-ordinate many security activities across the US government

The White House has appointed Howard Schmidt as its new cybersecurity chief.

Schmidt, a former Microsoft and eBay executive who is president of the Information Security Forum (ISF), was introduced as the new cybersecurity chief in a White House blog post on Tuesday.

"The president has chosen Howard Schmidt to be the White House cybersecurity co-ordinator," said John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. "Howard will have the important responsibility of orchestrating the many important cybersecurity activities across the government."

Schmidt has over 40 years' experience in government, business and law enforcement, and was a cybersecurity advisor to the Bush administration. He will be a member of Barack Obama's national security staff, and will work closely with the president's economics team, Brennan said.

Various cybersecurity experts on Tuesday offered congratulations to Schmidt. Marcus Sachs, director of the Sans Institute, said in a blog post that Schmidt will do well in the position.

Unisys's vice president of global security solutions, Neil Fisher, congratulated Schmidt. "At a time when our vulnerability to online crime and computer hacking attacks is at its height, this appointment will have positive reverberations around the world," Fisher said in a statement.

"While this appointment will beckon Schmidt back to the US, the UK will benefit from a more joined up, co-ordinated cybersecurity strategy, in recognition of the borderless nature of the cyber-threat leveled at our governments, industries and public."

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