Thursday, September 28, 2006

New Cyber Security Czar...

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security finally appointed a new Cyber Security Czar. Gregory Garcia, formerly a vice president of the Information Technology Association of America, was named overseer of the country's cyber defense after a year-long search.

DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff stated that Garcia will bring "the right mix of experience in government and the private sector" and that he has the expertise "that is consistent with our risk-based approach to homeland security".

He better. As someone who has spent many months reviewing the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, post 9/11, it's clear that our national strategy for cyber defense relies tremendously on the private sector. Basically, the Bush Administration has tried to offer incentives to private companies to protect their own internet assets, yet does little directly to ensure our nation's cyber defense. Participation is entirely voluntary, and the strategy fails to address the assets of individuals (it focuses exclusively on businesses).

Perhaps this should not come as a huge surprise. As reported by Techweb, "The Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA), founded in 2004 by security firms such as Symantec, McAfee, RSA Security, Check Point, and Internet Security Systems, has been pushing for an assistant secretary, and was glad to see its labors rewarded".

It's amazing that our national cyber defense strategy post-9/11 primarily consists of responding faster to attacks after they have occurred. The analogy in real-space would be the government doing nothing directly to prevent the next terrorist attack on Manhattan other than encouraging private firms to construct sturdier office buildings, and simply giving extra money to the police and fire department to deal with its aftermath.

Obviously, this plan is quite flawed and needs drastic revision. However, in the meantime, lets hope that new Cyber Security Czar Garcia can effectively keep one foot in both the worlds of the private and public sector.
  

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