Obama to announce 'cyber czar' for digital security
The move to create a position to safeguard the country's computer networks comes as the Pentagon plans to create a military command for cyberwarfare.
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The Wall Street Journal reports that candidates for cyber czar include acting White House cybersecurity chief Melissa Hathaway, who oversaw the administration review that prompted the creation of the position; Microsoft Corp. Vice President Scott Charney, who formerly ran the Justice Department's computer-crime unit; and Maureen Baginski, who has held posts at the NSA and the FBI. The Journal also reports that Army Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the current head of the NSA, is expected to lead the Pentagon's cybercommand once it has been created by Obama.Skip to next paragraph
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The Department of Homeland Security reports the number of cyber attacks on government and private networks increased from 4,095 in 2005 to 72,065 in 2008.
This month, a Transportation Department audit – carried out after hackers got into a support system containing personnel records – indicated the nation's air-traffic control system could be at risk.
Hathaway expressed concern that critical infrastructures such as the nation's power grid and financial networks could be vulnerable. "God forbid if somebody were to take down and or manipulate our financial system, and what would we do, and would it make the current financial crisis look like a walk in the park?" she asked.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair recently told reporters the biggest cyber threat facing the United States is from nation states, particularly Russia and China. "I think China is winning the sweepstakes for the origin of most attacks on U.S. persons and organizations," he said.