Cybersecurity czar's first task: reboot policy
The Obama White House Tuesday named former Bush aide, Howard Schmidt, as cybersecurity 'czar.' Cyber attacks from within and outside the country pose a growing threat to the US.
Newly named cybersecurity "czar” Howard Schmidt, a former executive at eBay and Microsoft, faces the task of reengineering US policy to combat a growing, yet often neglected, threat to the country’s economy and digital infrastructure.Skip to next paragraph
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The need for a stronger US cyber-defense policy was highlighted Tuesday by reports that Citibank reportedly lost tens of millions of dollars to Russian computer hackers over the summer. The Wall Street Journal reported that the attack was detected by US investigators “who saw suspicious traffic coming from Internet addresses that had been used by the Russian Business Network, a Russian gang that has sold hacking tools and software for accessing US government systems.” Citibank has denied any breach of security.
“People don’t realize the extent to which the US is being hurt in cyberspace, and it’s mainly economic espionage,” says James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “This is an intelligence battle and it’s a battle with criminals and it’s a battle with other countries.”
Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told “60 Minutes” that the US "is under cyber-attack virtually all the time, every day." The Pentagon is increasing its effort to combat cyber attacks.
A priority for Obama
President Obama made cybersecurity a national priority early in his administration and in May issued a review of current policy in which he called for the appointment of a new cyberczar. In his May 8. speech on the issue, Mr. Obama said cybercrimes have cost Americans $8 billion. "In one brazen act last year, thieves used stolen credit card information to steal millions of dollars from 130 ATM machines in 49 cities around the world -- and they did it in just 30 minutes," he said.