Former eBay, Microsoft Exec Howard Schmidt Chosen as Cyber-Security Czar

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Howard Schmidt, a former eBay and Microsoft Chief Security Officer and current president of the nonprofit Cyber Security Forum, has been chosen as the Obama administration’s new cyber security coordinator. From the AP:

A senior White House official said Obama was personally involved in the selection process and chose Schmidt because of his unique background and skills. Schmidt’s selection suggests that economic and business interests in the White House held more sway in the selection process. Schmidt…was reportedly preferred by Lawrence Summers, director of the economic council.

Considered an expert in computer forensics, Schmidt’s roughly 40-year career includes 31 years in local and federal government service, including a stint as vice chairman of President George W. Bush’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board. He also was for a short time an adviser to the FBI and worked at the National Drug Intelligence Center.

Congress members, business leaders and cyber security experts have called for a more coordinated effort by the federal government to monitor and protect U.S. systems and work with the private sector to insure that transportation systems, energy plants and other sensitive networks are equally protected.

According to InformationWeek,

In a video posted on the White House website, Schmidt said that the President has directed him to focus on creating a new comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, developing a strategy to respond to future cyberincidents, strengthening public-private and international partnerships, pushing cybersecurity research and development and leading a cybersecurity awareness and education campaign.

The Atlantic adds:

It’ll be a thankless job: given the near-certainty that the government will experience some massive data breach or a major cyber terrorism attack, Schmidt will be both the point person — and the person seen as responsible, even though he lacks the statutory authority to prevent these catastrophes.