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An Interview With Cybersecurity Czar Howard Schmidt 41

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the like-sanitation-director-only-you-do-less dept.
Trailrunner7 writes to tell us that US cybersecurity czar Howard Schmidt recently gave an interview where he discusses his career and what he sees as the priorities of the positions. "Howard Schmidt has been involved in just about every aspect of the security industry during his career. After stints in the Air Force and at Microsoft, he served as a cybersecurity advisor to George W. Bush. Now, after heading back to the private sector for several years, he's been appointed to serve as President Obama's security advisor."
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An Interview With Cybersecurity Czar Howard Schmidt

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  • by Third Position (1725934) on Monday February 22, 2010 @06:37PM (#31237432)

    ...the same as the old boss.

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by jgtg32a (1173373)

      Judging from the summery, it looks like there isn't actually a new boss, it's just the same boss again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by LostCluster (625375) *
      Checking the Washington TerrorBall League scores, Cyberspace Security went undefeated during the Bush administration so it's logical that this guy didn't get cut from the team. Bush had an overall losing record, even as today's teabaggers are still protesting the scores, but that's why he had to go.
    • In what is surely a huge surprise, he recommends standardizing on the software from his last employer...Microsoft...

      I guess, because they've released the most patches, their software is the most secure?

  • Bush Admin fails IT! (Score:3, Informative)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday February 22, 2010 @06:45PM (#31237542)

    As covered by Slashdot last week, [slashdot.org] a team of Bush-era staffers simulating a White House situation room responding to a "March Madness" trojan app attack was broadcast repeatedly by CNN over the weekend. That simulated attack turned smartphones into a botnet, then started attacking the Internet, and then with communications down it was easy for a few explosions to knock out power to the East Coast. The team failed... they took too long arguing over what they couldn't do instead of doing what they could. For example, telling people to shut off smartphones was met with theories into how they could require smartphones to go offline.. and that was just a waster of clock time because there's no law providing for that.

    The government needs the help of geeks, but the problem is anybody who gets into government wants to give themselves too much power, and that turns out ruining them.

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:01PM (#31237780)

      There's no law for that. Uh... how about, dunno, something old fashioned? Like, asking nicely? I know, it's an alien concept of an entity that's used to simply ordering what it wants from its subjects, but, ya know, it just might work. People like their country in general and are willing to make a few noncritical sacrifices (I know, another alien concept to politicians) if it helps their country.

      • Would they though? Enough of them, I mean. I'm sure some percentage would, but I know more than a few people I'd fully expect to react like the government had asked them to cut off their own genitalia, and if you didn't get enough cooperation, asking nicely wouldn't help. I'm not suggesting anything here, just wondering out loud.

        • by aztracker1 (702135) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:13PM (#31237954) Homepage

          They could politely *ask* the cellular companies to temporarily disable the data services at the towers, leaving voice enabled. That would probably be more effective in the end... simply text all the phones a notification that data services would be down for between X and Y hours.

          • And then we could have exciting years of conspiracy theories on why the government shut down communications...

        • After years of giving your subjects the general feeling that their country doesn't give a rat's ass about them? Prolly not. Guess you're right.

      • There's no law for that. Uh... how about, dunno, something old fashioned? Like, asking nicely?

        Why bother asking when you can just make a law that lets you order it? So much easier, since you can send in police to quell complainers rather than having to do your job of interacting with the rabble that voted you in. And even better, you can use said law for situations beyond what you originally promised they'd be used for. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

        • Because laws take time 'til they are passed. And such things don't get announced a few months in advance so it can get through congress in time when you need it. And there's already a law in place for asking nicely: The EAS [wikipedia.org], or rather, the law that makes this system possible.

          If nothing else, at least we'd then finally get to see and hear that this system is anything but up to spec when the prez (or whoever gets to read the note) asks everyone to turn off their cells.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mewsenews (251487)

        There's no law for that. Uh... how about, dunno, something old fashioned? Like, asking nicely?

        Who let this Canadian into the situation room?

      • by FlightTest (90079)

        Yes, because voluntary compliance works so well in the U.S.

        We asked people to use a hands-free device when using cell phones while driving, that is truly a noncritical sacrifice, and the request was completely ignored. By the same token, while there are definitely more people using hands-free now with laws in place, even the law is widely ignored.

        Asking Americans or even telling us with the force of law is pointless.

        As someone else pointed out, you're far better off asking the cell carriers (or twisting th

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417)

          That's common curtsey. A dated thing, nobody really cares about that. And nobody really sees the requirement for it.

          In this case, you're asking people to do something that is critical for the safety of the nation. Now, I don't know if the general "national pride" of the US has been deteriorated fully in the past 5 years since I was in the country last time, so that people would deliberately ignore such requests (if they do, you'd get to see that you have a LOT more problems at hand than a handful of funky t

        • by fnj (64210)

          Yes, because voluntary compliance works so well in the U.S.

          Well, the income tax levy is a hugely successful exercise in voluntary compliance, if a sad one. No bills are mailed out. The victims are merely told to work it out for themselves and ante up. The Constitutional Amendment (16th) authorizing it did not even properly pass. The issue was just swept under the rug and so the lie began.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by zero0ne (1309517)

      I may have said it in the other thread, but maybe not...

      If smart phones were turned into a botnet and they started attacking the internet, I am pretty sure AT&T / Verizon / ETC could AND WOULD stop this ASAP.

      every minute their network is congested / down / attacking other parts of its company means lost revenue to them...

      For this specific attack it makes sense that these companies would either know about this before the Gov't does, or at least be willing to listen to the gov't in this situation.

      • Yep. This is exactly why Apple has a killbit by which they can get rid of an trojan app as soon as they find out about it. Too bad these people didn't realize that before they took the wrong action.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      As covered by Slashdot last week, [slashdot.org] a team of Bush-era staffers simulating a White House situation room responding to a "March Madness" trojan app attack was broadcast repeatedly by CNN over the weekend. That simulated attack turned smartphones into a botnet, then started attacking the Internet, and then with communications down it was easy for a few explosions to knock out power to the East Coast. The team failed... they took too long arguing over what they couldn't do instead of doing what they could. For example, telling people to shut off smartphones was met with theories into how they could require smartphones to go offline.. and that was just a waster of clock time because there's no law providing for that.

      The government needs the help of geeks, but the problem is anybody who gets into government wants to give themselves too much power, and that turns out ruining them.

      Uh, in dealing with the situation regarding the issuance of "too much power", perhaps someone should take a bit closer look at the one going apeshit over the creation of "Czar" positions that pretty much walk around with the power to take a shit on the Constitution and wipe with the Bill of Rights instead of trying to make it appear that Bush-era Admins are so much worse than the ones sitting in the real room today. Like any Gov agency in the last couple of decades hasn't failed IT...Please.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mog007 (677810)

        When did this "czar" shit even start? Was it the drug czar position that was made back in the 80s? This is the fucking United States, not pre-Lenin Russia. We do not have czars; we're a fucking republic.

  • by mpapet (761907) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:12PM (#31237936) Homepage

    Now some of the universities that I teach at, such as Georgia Tech and Idaho State University, our Scholarship for Service programs, as soon as they get done, they’re going in government, fairly high-level positions as security experts.

    The wisdom of this is simultaneously frightening and brilliant.

    “Hey, I’m seeing this really anonymous activity on this particular port. Are you guys seeing that?” “Yeah, we are.” Well, that solves problems and that’s what this is all about.

    Mission accomplished! (In a GWB ironical reference kind of way)

    and many people don’t realize that there is not the one power company that looks after the entire country.

    This guy can sell ice to eskimos!

    No wonder I have grave concerns regarding the future of my country.

  • by syousef (465911) on Monday February 22, 2010 @08:51PM (#31238928) Journal

    Every time I hear the term "Czar", I think Russian mobster with protection racket. Is it just me?

    • by zx-15 (926808)

      More like a dude because of his incompetence gets killed alongside his family.

      There's lots of names for russian mobsters, but I don't think that 'Czar' is a popular one, it could be used as a mediocre individual nickname, but not as a general term.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      Every time I hear the term "Czar", I think Russian mobster with protection racket. Is it just me?

      Nope, I just see us losing the cold war when I see the "Czar" as an American rank.

      Wait, what, we won the cold war? Then how come they are now running our security? And KGB is a text messaging 'ask any question' service.

      Are you sure we won the cold war?

  • Cyber Security is the latest rogue applications to be causing only havoc and more havoc online. Clean Whites [articlesbase.com]
  • The guy must know his stuff; I'd dearly love to know how he made emails originating from the whitehouse.gov domain disappear not only after they hit the RNC's servers, but after they were stored to tape.

"You don't go out and kick a mad dog. If you have a mad dog with rabies, you take a gun and shoot him." -- Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, about Muammar Kadhafy

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