Apple Online Store“It took seven months but President Obama has finally found someone to take the cybersecurity czar job no one wanted,” Kim Zetter reports for Wired.

“Howard Schmidt, a former Microsoft security executive and a one-time cybersecurity adviser to President George W. Bush, has been appointed to the position of cybersecurity coordinator, according to a White House announcement on Tuesday,” Zetter reports. “In his new position, he will be responsible for coordinating the federal government’s cybersecurity initiatives to secure government networks and U.S. critical infrastructures. This will include working with the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that agencies have money allocated for cybersecurity priorities, and coordinating the government’s response to a major cyber incident or attack.”

“According to the Associated Press, Obama was directly involved in the selection of Schmidt, who was chosen after an extensive search,” Zetter reports. “But the announcement of Schmidt came with little fanfare on Tuesday and followed months of reports from other candidates that they either turned down the job or otherwise discouraged the White House from courting them.”

“Last May, Obama announced he was creating a new office to be led by a cybersecurity czar,” Zetter reports. “For nearly a year, however, he could find no one to take the job, due to what many viewed as its undesirable placement in the federal hierarchy.”

“Schmidt, Microsoft’s chief security officer until 2001, is the second former Microsoft executive to take a top federal cybersecurity position,” Zetter reports. “Last March, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appointed Philip Reitinger to the position of deputy undersecretary of the department’s National Protections Program Directorate.”

“Reitinger was Microsoft’s chief trustworthy infrastructure strategist, a job that required him in part to help develop and implement strategies for enhancing the security of critical infrastructures,” Zetter reports. “In his new position, he oversees the protection of the government’s computer networks and works with the private sector to help secure critical infrastructures.”

Zetter reports, “There have been concerns about how the White House intends to address cybersecurity issues, particularly in the private sector, and protect civil liberties at the same time.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Who’s next, Balloon Boy to head up NORAD?

Given their record in the security area, I don’t know why anybody would buy from them. – Richard A. Clarke, former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, commenting on Microsoft, February 17, 2005