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Obama Cyber Czar Choice Worries About Smartphones, Social Networking

By Network World

December 23, 2009

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Howard Schmidt, U.S. President Obama's choice for cybersecurity czar, has previously worked in both the public and private security sectors and also has written a book on defending the Internet. He is expected to focus on a number of issues as he begins his new job.

For instance, Schmidt — who helped produce the "National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace" while working for the Bush administration — could use the government to promote education and research and push vendors to make more secure products. "What is the government doing to make sure universities and companies have dollars to do research that will enhance security?" Schmidt said in an earlier interview. He added that there is research and development that needs to be done that may not improve homeland security but may make the Internet more secure. Schmidt also will likely work to make cybersecurity as big a priority as physical security.

In addition, Schmidt could call for increased security on smartphones and other mobile devices, since he has said that cybercriminals will increasingly target these devices as they become more and more like computers.

Finally, Schmidt will likely work to counter threats from terrorists to the U.S.'s cyberinfrastructure. Schmidt has said that terrorists are most likely to target financial institutions' IT networks, though attacking those systems will be difficult because of all the work the financial services industry has done to protect itself.

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