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Microsoft security chief Scott Charney is a leading candidate for the cybersecurity czar position, created by President Obama.  (Source: Microsoft)
President Obama will soon pick a candidate to lead our nation's cybersecurity efforts

Cybercrime, particularly attacks from foreign sources, is on the rise.  In the past month, many government systems and systems of government contractors have been penetrated by hackers from China or elsewhere.  Meanwhile petty cybercrime also remains a problem with malware, phishing, and botnets a lucrative business for some cyber-criminals.

Past exercises have shown the U.S. to have weak cyber-defenses, largely because of poor coordination between the organizations tasked with our government's security.  President George W. Bush and his successor President Barack Obama have set out to improve on this situation by allocating money to security and creating a new cybersecurity czar position to organize the fight.

Two leading candidates have emerged for this job.  The first is Scott Charney, head of Microsoft's cybersecurity division.  According to a source close to Mr. Charney, Mr. Charney says he won't take the job, however, the source believes that he would change his mind if pressed.  In the past Mr. Charney lead PricewaterhouseCoopers' cybercrime unit and before that he worked for the Justice Department's computer crime section.

The leading alternative is Paul Kurtz.  Mr. Kurtz served on the National Security Council under both President Clinton and President Bush.  He was a member of President Obama's transition team leading the cybersecurity efforts.

There are also a handful of other candidates that stand a shot.  Rep. Tom Davis, a moderate Virginia Republican; Sun Microsystems executive Susan Landau; Maureen Baginski, a veteran of the National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation; Frank Kramer, an assistant defense secretary under Clinton; Melissa Hathaway, who led a cybersecurity review for the president; and James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, are all under consideration, says a source.

John Thompson, chairman of the board of Symantec Corp. who had previously been considered a front runner turned the position down.

One thing that adds to the difficulty of the efforts is that the exact role of the job and its authority (and jurisdiction) remains undefined.

Some candidates have already begun to criticize each other.  Mr. Lewis struck out at the corporate candidates, commenting, "Some guy from industry is going to write a national security strategy? No, they aren't. You don't just pick this up.  You need somebody who knows the national security game, who knows government and who knows about the technology."



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RE: Bad choices
By mfed3 on 6/12/2009 10:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with your first comment, but I just wanted to make sure you knew the DoD definitely does NOT use Linux extensively. In fact they barely use it at all.

The DoD uses Windows almost exclusively, even on the server side. Linux is only really used for some embedded systems or for development servers for source control (ex: svn etc).

It was only recently that the DoD was even allowed to use Linux at all, since Windows was previously mandated as the only OS that was allowed to be used.


RE: Bad choices
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/12/2009 11:46:17 AM , Rating: 1
Tanks and fighting vehicles ran on Linux last I checked, and still do, to my knowledge.

Development machines used for hardware, software, and mechanical development of fighting vehicles and aircraft, both within the DoD and its contractors often run on Linux deployments.

I'd call that a major deployment. True most of the computers physically used by soldiers and officers (outside vehicles) are Windows, but the development systems are heavily Linux -- and that's a particularly critical portion of the IT infrastructure to protect.


RE: Bad choices
By Spuke on 6/12/2009 12:02:13 PM , Rating: 2
When I was in the military 12 years ago, all of our critical systems were Linux and Unix. We even had some Linux and Sun desktops.


RE: Bad choices
By theapparition on 6/15/2009 8:13:30 AM , Rating: 2
This issue here is two-fold.

What the OP was refering to was desktop, or standard computer use. And he was absolutely correct that most installations are on Windows.

The sector you are talking about falls into embedded computing. While aircraft systems may certainly run a very customized and stripped down version of *nix, external security threats to them are virtually non-existant since they don't offer the connectivity and interfaces that would necessitate a security threat.

So why techically a large deployment, your argument fails logic because those systems are generally isolated. The biggest security threat to those sytems is from foreign entities gaining access to source code. However, once deployed, there is not much that can affect embedded software (if it's designed right).


RE: Bad choices
By stmok on 6/12/2009 3:48:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I just wanted to make sure you knew the DoD definitely does NOT use Linux extensively. In fact they barely use it at all.


In 2005, the DoD bought a super computer for weapons design...It runs Linux.
=> http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/dod-buys-2048-...


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