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Cyber Czar Howard Schmidt Highligths Progress in Cybersecurity

Howard_Schmidt_and_Barack_ObamaThe White House yesterday released a progress report on what concrete steps have been taken to make cyberspace a more secure place, highlighting identity authentication, a comprehensive cyber incident response plan, and new performance metrics introduced by the Federal Information Management Security Act.

Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt yesterday hosted an event at the White House with administration’s top cybersecurity officials and members of the private sector to discuss progress in national cybersecurity activity in the past year and “to draw attention to the efforts of [academia and the privacy and civil liberties] communities to reduce risk and build confidence in our critical information and communications infrastructure,” Schmidt wrote on the White House blog.

In the blog from yesterday, the cyber czar highlighted what the Obama administration has done so far to strengthen cybersecurity, which include the release of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace and the appointment of a cybersecurity coordinator and a privacy and civil liberties official.

Schmidt also mentioned the National Cyber Incident Response Plan, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security, which will ensure there is a coordinated national response to a significant cyber incident, and the new performance metrics under FISMA, which focuses on more efficient and more effective continuous monitoring.

Speaking about what the different departments have worked on to secure the nation’s networks and systems, Schmidt wrote about how Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke emphasized how his department had facilitated the introduction of new security protocols into the Internet’s Domain Name System infrastructure. Schmidt also said how DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke of recent key accomplishments, including the development of NCIRP, which will ensure coordinated cyber preparedness and response among all national partners, as well as the deployment of EINSTEIN network intrusion detection technology.

Schmidt said the real highlight of the White House event came when President Barack Obama stopped by to emphasize the increasing importance the society will place on digital communications and information infrastructure “as we seek to unleash the potential of these new media.”

“[Obama] emphasized the need for continued collaboration between the private sector and government, stating ‘that’s why we’re going to need all of you to keep coming together—government, industry, academia, think tanks, media and privacy and civil liberties groups—to work together, to develop the solutions we need to keep America safe and prosperous in cyberspace,'” Schmidt concluded his blog.

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