White House names Howard Schmidt as cyber tsar

White House names Howard Schmidt as cyber tsar

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

TOPICS: Security

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."

Topic: Security

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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  • Clueless in Washington, DC

    The Press will want to examine Howard Schmidt's track record as a Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) "CyLab Fellow."
    -----> http://www.cylab.cmu.edu/about/people.html

    The public record shows that Schmidt's colleague, CyLab's most-publicized Founding Director, was in reality professor 'Harold Hill' -- a 'Music Man' with Oxford degrees.
    -----> http://www.cmu.edu/cmnews/020621/020621_sustain.html

    The claim-to-fame of Schmidt's academic "Joe Millionaire" colleague is that he was the CEO and architect of "Printcafe," an infamous Y2K dot-com disaster that lost $250 million of public and private money before its officers and directors were charged with securities fraud!
    -----> (Google "Printcafe Guttman") (Google "Printcafe securities fraud")

    Ironically, the 2003 public record birth announcement of Carnegie Mellon's CyLab appeared on the same day, on the same page, in a paragraph adjacent to the death notice of Joe Millionaire's insolvent Printcafe dot-com!
    -----> http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03295/233305-28.stm

    The public record shows that Schmidt's CyLab colleague was also the architect and manager of Aileron Capital, a hedge fund shut down in 2006 by then-CEO Richard Fuld of Lehman Bros. after investors threatened lawsuits for managerial looting and fraud.
    -----> http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06358/748433-28.stm

    The public record further shows that Schmidt shared a Carnegie Mellon stage with Joe Millionaire during a 2002 White House meeting on Cybersecurity, and that Schmidt subsequently received a personal guided tour and briefing about Joe's big-money "Sustainable Computing Consortium" which was funded by Microsoft and NASA among others.
    -----> http://www.cmu.edu/cmnews/021121/021121_hostmtg.html
    -----> http://www.cmu.edu/cmnews/extra/2002/021022_whtown.html

    The public record shows that NASA and Microsoft are no long CyLab 'partners." (Enquiring minds will wonder why.)
    -----> http://www.cylab.cmu.edu/partners/current_partners.html

    But "Joe Millionaire" remains at Carnegie Mellon where he is a 'Special Advisor' to the Provost and he is also the Chairman of iCarnegie, the university's for-profit international education initiative.
    -----> http://www.heinz.cmu.edu/faculty-and-research/faculty-profiles/faculty-details/index.aspx?faculty_id=42

    Despite Schmidt's awareness of years of whistle-blowing to CMU and CyLab about the identity fraud, the new Cybersecurity Czar has made no public comment about Carnegie Mellon's serious "Joe Millionaire" problem.

    Beam me up!

    With a Cybersecurity Czar like this, who needs cyber-enemies?