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White House Cybersecurity Team Pushes for Private Sector Support

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | 10:45 AM Leave a comment Go to comments

“Last month, during the State of the Union address, the President laid out all the big visions for the future of the American economy,” White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt recalled in his opening remarks of a cybersecurity town hall meeting at the annual RSA Conference underway in San Francisco.

Reflecting on President Obama’s push for innovation in the digital age, Schmidt advised that it is “critical” for the government to collaborate with the private sector to carry out future accomplishments.

But the cyber czar said that in working with industry, the government must first “lead by example,” calling for more transparency, accountability and international engagement in issues surrounding security and the Internet.

“I think the situation in Egypt in the past few weeks has really put together something to be recognized,” Schmidt said, noting the US government’s importance in ensuing the freedom of speech and expression for our nation.

“But it’s all about collaboration,” Schmidt said.  “We can’t do these efforts by ourselves.  We need to work together.”

“We need to come up with new ways to work faster, to make sure the information we’re sharing with each other is actionable and timely,” he went on, pointing out that public-private partnerships, such as efforts made in Cyber Storm III, have already proven to be beneficial and successful to the nation.

In agreement with Schmidt, Philip Reitinger, Deputy Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, joined in on the discussion, advising, “We’ve got a long way to go.”

Joking that P2P partnerships are often viewed as ‘Kumbaya’ moments, Reitinger said that joint efforts are “actually real” and working.

Referring the collaboration of Cyber Storm III, Reitinger said, “It actually involved many stakeholders internationally, domestically, public, private, state, local, federal, working together, to come up with something that was real.”

Reitinger pointed out that the DHS “Stop. Think. Connect.” campaign has also required support from both the private sector and the public.

To allow for future collaborations, Schmidt and Reitinger agreed that education reform, with focus on STEM (i.e. science, technology, engineering and mathematics), is a necessity in bringing more experts into the fields of cybersecurity and technology.

“It is the cybersecurity workforce of the future that is going to enable our country to succeed,” Reitinger said, jesting, “We have to make being a geek look cool.”

Want to know what’s happening outside of the RSA Conference?  Here’s a look at some cybersecurity news headlines you may have missed:

Obama seeks big boost in cybersecurity spending (ComputerWorld)

Pentagon seeks $500M for cyber technologies (Bloomberg)

CIA Director: Intelligence community needs to predict uprisings (Defense.gov)

Jurisdiction issues complicate Defense cybersecurity role (Federal Times)

Schwartz says he will protect cyber mission (Air Force Times)

Congress hears alarm bells about cybersecurity (CNN)

Lawmakers fret over lack of cyber defense coordination (Defense Systems)

NERC: Govt intervention in electric grid controls ‘scary’ to contemplate (FierceGovIT)

Trend to watch: Formal relationships between governments and hackers (O’Reilly Radar)

Anonymous claims to have Stuxnet access (The Guardian)

Clapper cites al-Qaida, cybersecurity as top priorities for intelligence community (ExecutiveGov)

Op-Ed: A civil perspective on cybersecurity (Wired)

Are you a victim of Night Dragon cyber attacks? (Federal News Radio)


Israel video shows Stuxnet as one of its successes (The Telegraph)

Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility recovered quickly from Stuxnet cyber attack (Washington Post)

City authorities plan ‘war game’ based on Olympic cyber attack scenario (The Guardian)

Firms to help stop UK cyber-attacks (Press Association)

Increase in cyber security threat over India (Asia Bizz)


US agencies not playing nice with industry on cybersecurity (InfoSecurity)

Stone Key drives cybersecurity dealmaking (Reuters)

StrikeForce taps into $55B federal government cybersecurity market (Press Release)

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