Risk
1/27/2010
02:44 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Cybersecurity Chief Confronts Google Attack, Cloud Security

New to the job, Howard Schmidt's priorities include developing an organized response to attacks on American systems, private-public partnerships, and R&D.

The nation's new cybersecurity coordinator, Howard Schmidt, says the task of overseeing government-wide computer security has been "non-stop" in his first two weeks on the job.

Following the December announcement of his appointment by President Obama, Schmidt immediately had a cybersecurity crisis on his hands: Google's disclosure of a cyber attack on its system from within China. "I think everybody in the world who's in the security business is thinking about or working on that issue right now," Schmidt said in a brief interview at the Congressional Internet Caucus' annual State of the Net conference, where he gave his first public speech since taking office.

Since meeting with President Obama a few weeks ago, Schmidt has been working with federal CTO Aneesh Chopra and federal CIO Vivek Kundra on the requirement for secure cloud computing architectures and other issues.

Schmidt didn't offer a timeframe for when the White House would introduce a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, but he hinted at where he might be looking to affect change. Schmidt pointed to supply chain management and education as weak links in cybersecurity. His priorities include developing an organized, unified response to attacks on American systems, fostering private-public partnerships, and addressing R&D needs.

One of the main concerns expressed about Schmidt's position before he took office was that it carried no real budget authority, but Schmidt waves that aside. "I don't believe that if you don't have the budget authority, you can't affect change," he said, noting a recent groundswell of support from policy-makers for cybersecurity efforts.

Another question has been whether Schmidt has the President's ear and the authority to make policy. He reports to both the National Economic Council and the National Security Staff, rather than to the President.

"I was particularly pleased and it made me feel good that there is a direct link to the National Security Staff as well as the National Economic Council," he said in his speech. "By being dual-hatted, it gives us a much broader perspective and helps us to have balance. It's important to understand we have a foot in both camps and utilize both camps."

Schmidt said privacy would be a key component of any cybersecurity plans he helps to develop. "Privacy and security are two sides of the same coin," he said. "As I was coming into this position, I was always sure that we had the discussion about privacy."

Schmidt took over for Chris Painter, who was acting in an interim capacity. Painter kept things going forward, Schmidt said, adding that he hopes to keep him at the White House "as long as I can keep him." Schmidt has a staff of about 10 working on issues from privacy to intelligence.

Register now for Black Hat DC, the largest and the most important security conference series in the world. It happens Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2010, in Arlington, Va. Find out more and register.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-2184
Published: 2015-03-27
Movable Type before 5.2.6 does not properly use the Storable::thaw function, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via the comment_state parameter.

CVE-2014-3619
Published: 2015-03-27
The __socket_proto_state_machine function in GlusterFS 3.5 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) via a "00000000" fragment header.

CVE-2014-8121
Published: 2015-03-27
DB_LOOKUP in nss_files/files-XXX.c in the Name Service Switch (NSS) in GNU C Library (aka glibc or libc6) 2.21 and earlier does not properly check if a file is open, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) by performing a look-up while the database is iterated over...

CVE-2014-9712
Published: 2015-03-27
Websense TRITON V-Series appliances before 7.8.3 Hotfix 03 and 7.8.4 before Hotfix 01 allows remote administrators to read arbitrary files and obtain passwords via a crafted path.

CVE-2015-2157
Published: 2015-03-27
The (1) ssh2_load_userkey and (2) ssh2_save_userkey functions in PuTTY 0.51 through 0.63 do not properly wipe SSH-2 private keys from memory, which allows local users to obtain sensitive information by reading the memory.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Good hackers--aka security researchers--are worried about the possible legal and professional ramifications of President Obama's new proposed crackdown on cyber criminals.