Who Will Lead Cybersecurity Efforts?

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The increase of cyberattacks has garnered the attention of the White House and Congress, which has allocated billions toward fighting the issue.


However, cybersecurity is a relatively new area of defense for the government and enterprise alike. Universities are in the beginning phases of developing classes in cybersecurity. Recently, I was at a gathering with chief security officers and several mentioned that their bosses don't always understand the role of the CSO or how it differs from other computer support positions. In other words, the problem isn't just how to best protect against cyberattacks, but who will lead those efforts and where are those leaders coming from?


Cybersecurity czar Howard Schmidt hosted a summit to discuss these issues. As Matthew Schwartz wrote for InformationWeek:


Step one, then, was to introduce policymakers and experts from around the world, to begin creating the relationships and transparency needed to make this happen. "How can you do partnerships with private industry, how can you do it with other governments when everything's behind a veil of secrecy?" said White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt.



Schwartz went on to explain that cybersecurity goes beyond adding protecting computers and websites. We need to figure out how to protect various infrastructures -- from banking to electricity to transportation -- from attacks:



Safeguarding control systems against attackers requires a different approach to securing PCs or networks. For starters, Windows-based security products won't help. "All the devices that sense things -- temperature, pressure, flow and things like that -- are not Windows, those are proprietary, real-time or embedded, and there's no security there," said critical infrastructure security expert Joe Weiss.


Schmidt, of course, is leading the effort for the Obama Administration. Now, General Keith Alexander will head U.S. Cyber Command, which was created to protect the U.S. Military from cyberattacks. The Washington Post provided a list of leaders, which includes military, academics, and technology experts, in the cybersecurity effort.


Future leaders haven't been forgotten. Universities, enterprises and the government are working together to train students for the growing cybersecurity field, with events like the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competitions.