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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 DigitalFreak on 6/12/2009 10:46:09 AM , Rating: 0
I doubt any of these guys "do it as their job". They are all executives, which usually means that the underlings do the work and have all the knowledge.


RE: Bad choices
By noxipoo on 6/12/2009 11:35:15 AM , Rating: 3
They are never going to just pick some professional, they need people that have been in positions of leadership. You think this czar will be actually doing the work? I rather have an exec that have done it then some politician talking about a series of tubes.


RE: Bad choices
By callmeroy on 6/12/2009 12:40:16 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah because I'm sure this MS guy used to be a short order cook then one day Bill Gates came into his diner and said "hey, you -- yeah you at the grill....wanna be a top level executive in the largest software company in the world?".


RE: Bad choices
By cnar77 on 6/12/2009 11:25:38 PM , Rating: 3
You obviously don't know anything about Information Systems security. It starts at the top. They don't need to do the work they just need to set the tone that the rest will follow. From there you put good people in place to implement plans and policies, people who can pull everything together but first you need to have a plan. Any person chosen has to be capable enough to work with others and agencies to create a workable, scalable and effective plan focussed on mitigating risk because that's what IS security is.

If you want to know about this topic just check out organizations like (ISC)2 and ISACA. Right now the US government needs IS governance and perhaps their own high standards for which to focus their complaince. Whether its based on COBIT or ISO/IEC 27001.

I resepct your freedom of speech and opinion but like many you're talking about something you "THINK" you understand. From what you've written I can assure you that you don't.

"People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid."
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