Careers & People

In Appreciation: Howard A. Schmidt

Former cybersecurity coordinator to President Obama, and renowned veteran of the security industry, passed away Thursday.

The security industry is mourning the loss of Howard A. Schmidt, 67, who served under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama as their top cybersecurity advisors after holding top security posts at Microsoft and eBay.

Schmidt's post under Obama, from 2009-2012, was the very first White House cybersecurity coordinator.

His distinguished career spans public service and private sector posts, including more than 26 years of military service starting with the US Air Force and later serving as an Army Reserve Special Agent with the Criminal Investigation Division's Computer Crime Unit. He served as President and CEO of the Information Security Forum, and later as the executive director of SAFECode, and was a partner in Ridge-Schmidt Cyber, an executive services firm.

Uniting government and private-industry security expertise was the underlying theme of much of Schmidt's efforts as Obama's cybersecurity czar. In an interview with Dark Reading in 2011, Schmidt stressed the need for the feds to help private industry by sharing attack intelligence. "We are able to coalesce intelligence ... the government has information that comes from its unique position, so part of this is taking that information and [showing] we care about putting the bad guys in jail," he said. "We want to make sure we are sharing with our private-sector partners."

On Schmidt's watch in the Obama administration, the White House announced its National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), as well as the establishment of an international cyberstrategy on how the US would respond and defend itself in the face of cyberattacks by adversaries. He once warned of the "cascading effects" of targeted malware attacks against nation-states.

Howard A. Schmidt
Howard A. Schmidt

Schmidt was well-respected and revered as a dedicated public servant and leader in the cybersecurity realm and his former colleagues and friends today remembered him with tributes on social media.

Steve Lipner, the current director of SAFECode and friend and former colleague of Schmidt's said today in an interview with Dark Reading that Schmidt was a "real leader in the industry" and "very committed to public service."

The two first met while working at Microsoft in the late 1990s, where Schmidt helped shape Microsoft's game-changing shift to software security. "The focus on security at Microsoft was ramping up in late 2001, 2002, in large measure because of the things he [Schmidt] drove behind the scenes," Lipner said.

Schmidt left Microsoft after being called up by the Bush White House to serve as its cybersecurity advisor in 2001. "He left to go join the White House because he felt that was a higher calling, something he ought to do," Lipner said.

"He was a very practical, down-to-earth guy. He was very dedicated to security and doing security right," Lipner said. "He was also just a good person ... a friend. And a nice guy."

Schmidt was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson and spending time with his family, including eight grandchildren.

Schmidt passed away this morning, March 2, at his home in Muskego, Wisconsin, following a long battle with cancer.

Dark Reading's Quick Hits delivers a brief synopsis and summary of the significance of breaking news events. For more information from the original source of the news item, please follow the link provided in this article. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
abbottanderson
50%
50%
abbottanderson,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/10/2017 | 2:00:13 AM
Microsoft tech support
nice post
Making the Case for a Cybersecurity Moon Shot
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  2/19/2019
New Free Tool Scans for Chrome Extension Safety
Dark Reading Staff 2/21/2019
Privacy Ops: The New Nexus for CISOs & DPOs
Amit Ashbel, Security Evangelist, Cognigo,  2/18/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Data breach fears and the need to comply with regulations such as GDPR are two major drivers increased spending on security products and technologies. But other factors are contributing to the trend as well. Find out more about how enterprises are attacking the cybersecurity problem by reading our report today.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-8955
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
In Tor before 0.3.3.12, 0.3.4.x before 0.3.4.11, 0.3.5.x before 0.3.5.8, and 0.4.x before 0.4.0.2-alpha, remote denial of service against Tor clients and relays can occur via memory exhaustion in the KIST cell scheduler.
CVE-2019-1698
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
A vulnerability in the web-based user interface of Cisco Internet of Things Field Network Director (IoT-FND) Software could allow an authenticated, remote attacker to gain read access to information that is stored on an affected system. The vulnerability is due to improper handling of XML External E...
CVE-2019-1700
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
A vulnerability in field-programmable gate array (FPGA) ingress buffer management for the Cisco Firepower 9000 Series with the Cisco Firepower 2-port 100G double-width network module (PID: FPR9K-DNM-2X100G) could allow an unauthenticated, adjacent attacker to cause a denial of service (DoS) conditio...
CVE-2019-6340
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
Some field types do not properly sanitize data from non-form sources in Drupal 8.5.x before 8.5.11 and Drupal 8.6.x before 8.6.10. This can lead to arbitrary PHP code execution in some cases. A site is only affected by this if one of the following conditions is met: The site has the Drupal 8 core RE...
CVE-2019-8996
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-21
In Signiant Manager+Agents before 13.5, the implementation of the set command has a Buffer Overflow.