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[infowar.de] NYT 15.09.03 White House Selects Cybersecurity Chief
September 15, 2003
White House Selects Cybersecurity Chief
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 9:39 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House on Monday selected Amit Yoran, a
software executive from Symantec Corp., as the nation's new
cybersecurity chief for
the Department of Homeland Security.
Yoran, who is hardly a household name but well known within the
cybersecurity community, will be the government's evangelist for
persuading Americans to improve their computer defenses against hackers,
disgruntled employees, commercial rivals and foreign governments.
``He's been one of the leaders in this area in the private sector,''
said Howard Schmidt, former deputy special assistant to President Bush
for cybersecurity issues. ``He'll do quite well.''
Yoran, a Symantec vice president, also will be responsible for carrying
out dozens of recommendations in the administration's ``National
Strategy to Secure Cyberspace,'' a set of proposals to better protect
``There are a number of challenges, but I wouldn't point to any one in
particular and say it's the most difficult to overcome,'' Yoran said in
an interview with The Associated Press. ``There's definitely a lot of
work ahead of us.''
The Department of Homeland Security announced Yoran's selection Monday
to industry executives and other government officials. Yoran, who was
not at the announcement, said he expects to report for work within a few
Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., praised Yoran's appointment but said it
took too long; the administration has been searching since May for a
``The Administration has demonstrated, though its neglect of cyber
security, that computer security is not a priority,'' Lieberman said in
a statement. ``This has been a mistake, but perhaps Mr. Yoran, with his
impressive experience and background, will be able to begin to address
these very important issues.''
Yoran cofounded Riptech Inc. of Alexandria, Va., in March 1998, which
monitored government and corporate computers around the world with an
elaborate sensor network to protect against attacks. He sold the firm in
July 2002 to Symantec for $145 million and stayed on as vice president
for managed security services.
Roger Cressey, president of Good Harbor Consulting LLC and former chief
of staff for President Bush's cybersecurity board, said Yoran is a good
choice. ``The challenge is going to be, will he be given enough latitude
to take the steps necessary?''
Yoran said he hasn't yet talked with government ethics lawyers, but he
said Symantec, a leading cybersecurity and antivirus vendor, wouldn't be
given special treatment by the department.
``I don't think it would be responsible to cut them out, but certainly
we would not show them favoritism just because I spent a year working
here,'' Yoran said, adding that he will have no equity position or
investment in Symantec once he joins the administration.
The new cybersecurity chief's position drew early criticism for its
placement deep inside the agency's organizational chart. The cyberchief
will be at least three steps beneath Homeland Security Secretary Tom
Ridge. Yoran effectively replaces a position once held by Richard
Clarke, a special adviser to President Bush.
``I'm not really overly concerned about my personal visibility,'' Yoran
said. ``I want to make sure we take the right initiatives.''
Yoran earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from West Point and
a master's in computer security from George Washington University. He
was director of the vulnerability assessment program for the Defense
Department's computer emergency response team before starting Riptech.
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press
HSFK Hessische Stiftung für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
PRIF Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
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