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America's Cybersecurity Czar, Howard Schmidt, Steps Down

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the hit-the-road dept.

Government 52

wiredmikey writes "In December of 2009, after months of waiting, the Obama Administration named Howard Schmidt as the White House Cybersecurity Coordinator. After more than forty years in the IT community, the nation's first cyber czar will retire at the end of the month. Schmidt, after just over two years of government service, said he would retire in order to spend more time with his family and to entertain teaching opportunities in the cyber field. Schmidt was at the reins when the White House introduced its international strategy for cyberspace, and also helped create the controversial National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, an initiative that would allow people to obtain a single credential as a one-time password (on a token or mobile device) to do business on the Internet. Schmidt will be replaced by Michael Daniel, currently the head of the White House budget office's intelligence branch."

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52 comments

Mudge (1)

Dr. Tom (23206) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039747)

Is Mudge still available?

Re:Mudge (-1, Offtopic)

YouSlut,BecomeClean! (2642537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039767)

Around a year ago, I was mindlessly surfing the internet (as I often do) when I came across an enigmatic web page. The page, which looked like a warning from my web browser, informed me that I had a virus installed on my computer and that to fix it, I should install a strange anti-virus program that I'd never heard of (which I found peculiar considering the fact that I already had anti-virus software installed on my computer). Despite having reservations about installing it, I did so anyway (since it appeared to be a legitimate warning).

I cannot even fathom what I was thinking at that time. Soon after attempting to install the so-called anti-virus software, my desktop background image changed into a large red warning sign, warnings about malware began making appearances all over the screen, and a strange program I'd never seen before began nagging me to buy a program to remove the viruses. What should have been obvious previously then became clear to me: that software was a virus. Frustrated by my own stupidity, I began tossing objects around the room and cursing at no one in particular.

After I calmed down, I reluctantly took my computer to a local PC repair shop and steeled myself for the incoming fee. When I entered, I noticed that there were four men working there, and all of them seemed incredibly nice (the shop itself was clean and stylish, too). After I described the situation to them, they gave me a big smile (as if they'd seen and heard it all before), accepted the job, and told me that the computer would be working like new again in a few days. At the time, I was confident that their words held a great degree of truth to them.

The very next day, while I was using a local library's computer and browsing the internet, I came across a website dedicated to a certain piece of software. It claimed that it could fix up my PC and make it run like new again. I knew, right then, merely from viewing a single page on the website, that it was telling the truth. I cursed myself for not discovering this excellent piece of software before I had taken my PC to the PC repair shop. "It would've saved me money. Oh, well. I'm sure they'll get the job done just fine. I can always use this software in the future to conserve money." Those were my honest thoughts at the time.

Two days later, my phone rang after I returned home from work. I immediately was able to identify the number: it was the PC repair shop's phone number. Once I answered, something strange occurred; the one on the other end of the line spoke, in a small, tormented voice, "Return. Return. Return. Return. Return." No matter what I said to him, he would not stop repeating that one word. Unsettled by this odd occurrence, I traveled to the PC repair shop to find out exactly what happened.

Upon arriving inside the building, I looked upon the shop, which was a shadow of its former self, in shock. There were countless wires all over the floor, smashed computer parts scattered in every direction I looked, fallen shelves on the ground, desks flipped over on the ground, and, to make matters even worse, there was blood splattered all over the wall. Being the reasonable, upstanding, college-educated citizen that I was, I immediately concluded that the current state of the shop was due to none other than an employee's stress from work. I looked around a bit more, spotted three bodies sitting against the wall, and in the middle of the room, I spotted my computer. "Ah. There it is." Directly next to it was the shop's owner, sitting on the ground in the fetal position.

When I questioned him, he kept repeating a single thing again and again: "Cannot be stopped! Cannot be stopped! Cannot be stopped!" I could not get him to tell me what was wrong, but after a bit of pondering, I quickly figured out precisely what happened: they were unable to fix my computer like they had promised. Disgusted by their failure, I turned to the shop's owner (who I now noticed had a gun to his head), and spat in his general direction. I then turned my back to him as if I was attempting to say that nothing behind me was worth my attention, and said to him, "Pathetic. Absolutely, positively pathetic. I asked you to do a single thing for me, and yet you failed even at that. Were I you, I'd be disgusted by myself, and I'd probably even take my own life. Such a worthless existence isn't even worthy of receiving my gaze!"

After saying that, I left the shop with my computer as if absolutely nothing had occurred there. And, indeed, there was nothing in that shop that was worthy of my attention. Still understandably disgusted by their inability to fulfill the promise, I said to myself, "I'll have to take this into my own hands." After getting into my car to drive home, I heard a gun shot from inside the repair shop. Being that it originated from the worthless owner of that shop, I promptly decided to ignore it.

Once I returned home, I, filled to the brim with confidence, immediately installed the software that I'd found a few days ago: MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . The results were exactly what I expected, and yet, I was still absolutely in awe of MyCleanPC's [mycleanpc.com] wonderful performance. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] removed every last virus from my computer in the span of a few seconds. I simply couldn't believe it; MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] accomplished in moments what "professionals" had failed to accomplish after days of work!

MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is outstanding! My computer is running faster than ever! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] came through with flying colours where no one else could! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally cleaned up my system, and increased my speed!

If you're having computer troubles, I highly recommend the use of MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . Don't rely on worthless "professionals" to fix up your PC! Use MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] if you want your PC to be overclocking, if you want your gigabits to be zippin' and zoomin', and if you want your PC to be virus-free.

Even if you aren't having any visible problems with your PC, I still wholeheartedly recommend the use of MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . You could still be infected by a virus that isn't directly visible to you, and MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] will fix that right up. What do you have to lose? In addition to fixing any problems, MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] will, of course, speed up all of your gigabits until every component on your PC is overclocking like new!

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [mycleanpc.com]

Re:Mudge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039993)

Really?

Re:Mudge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40041415)

No.

Re:Mudge (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039917)

Seems like a natural promotion from his position at DARPA.

How did someone that old still have a job in IT? (2, Funny)

xzvf (924443) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039755)

I mean, really.... Grey hair, Fred Thompson look alike... They don't exist in IT. Is federal security locking up the punch cards?

Re:How did someone that old still have a job in IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039775)

About six months ago, I was overexerting myself trying to get rid of a terrible virus on a client's PC (I own a PC repair shop and have been fixing computers for over 10 years). Given my level of expertise, I thought I'd be able to get rid of it fairly quickly and without hassle, but as was made evident by my colossal failure, I was horribly, horribly wrong.

I couldn't remove the virus no matter what method I used. I tried all the latest anti-virus software and all the usual tricks, but it was all in vain. Failure after failure, my life was slowly being sucked away as I spent more and more of my time trying to get rid of this otherworldly virus.

Frustrated and stressed by my own failure, I began distancing myself from my wife and children. After a few days, I began verbally abusing them, and it eventually escalated into physical abuse. I was slowly losing what remaining sanity I had left. If this had continued for much longer, it is highly probable that I would have committed suicide. A mere shell of what I once was, I barricaded myself in my bedroom and cried myself to sleep for days on end.

That's when it happened: I found MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] ! I installed MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] right on the client's PC, ran a scan, and it immediately got rid of all the viruses without a single problem. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] accomplished in record time what I was unable to accomplish after a full week. Wow! Such a thing!

MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is outstanding! My client's computer is running faster than ever! I highly recommend you install MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] right this minuteness, run a scan, and then boost your PC speed in record time! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] came through with flying colours where no one else could!

My client's response? "MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally cleaned up my system, and increased my speed!" All the PC repair professionals are using MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] to solve all of their problems. This should be reason enough for you to switch to MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] ! It'll speed up your computer, rid it of all viruses, and you'll be able to work productively again! Wow!

Even if you're not having any obvious computer problems, you could still be in danger. That's why I very highly recommend that you still use MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . After all, it will boost your PC & internet speed to levels you never would think are possible!

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [mycleanpc.com]

Re:How did someone that old still have a job in IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40042807)

Wow, totally the wrong place to spam... What next Antivirus 2012 cleaned the 4000 infections on my computer and now I have this neato russian bride.

Re:How did someone that old still have a job in IT (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045021)

I mean, really.... Grey hair, Fred Thompson look alike... They don't exist in IT.

I see you've never been inside the building I work in.

Such a thing! I will violate such ass immediately! (-1, Offtopic)

Let'sCleanThatSlut (2642545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039811)

A few weeks ago, I foolishly ran a strange executable file that one of my acquaintances sent me by email. As someone who doesn't know much about computers, at the time, I thought nothing of it. "Why would my acquaintance want to hurt me?" Following this line of thought, I ran the file without question.

How naive I was. Despite having what was supposedly the best anti-virus software out right then, a virus took over my computer and held it hostage. It was pretending to be a warning from Windows telling me to buy some strange anti-virus software I'd never heard of from a company I'd never heard of to remove the virus.

This immediately set alarm bells off in my head. "How could this happen? My anti-virus is supposed to be second to none!" Faced with this harsh reality, I decided to take it to a PC repair shop for repair. They gladly accepted the job, told me it'd be fixed in a few days, and sent me off with a smile.

A few days later, they called me and told me to come pick up my computer. At the time, I noticed that they sounded like whimpering animals, but I concluded that it must just be stress from work. When I arrived, they, with tears in their eyes, told me that the virus was so awful and merciless that they were unable to remove it. "Ah," I thought. "That must be why they sounded so frustrated and pathetic over the phone. Their failure must have truly ruined their pride as professionals." I later found out that two of them had committed suicide.

After returning home, I tried to fix it myself (despite the fact that even the professionals couldn't do it). After about a day or so, I was losing my very mind. I stopped going to work, stopped eating, was depressed, and I would very frequently throw my precious belongings across the room and break them; that is how bad this virus was.

That's when it happened: I found MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] ! I installed MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] , ran a scan, and let it remove all the viruses! They were removed in precisely 2.892 seconds. Wow! Such a thing! I can't even believe this as such never before! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is outstanding! My computer is running faster than ever! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] came through with flying colors where no one else could!

MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally cleaned up my system, and increased my speed! If you're having computer problems, or even if you aren't having any obvious problems, I recommend that you use MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . As a user, it did more for me that any so-called "professional." It'll even boost your PC & internet speed!

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [mycleanpc.com]

Please stop posting this drivel (-1, Offtopic)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040797)

Im not sure if you are just brain damaged or in marketing (or both) but unless CleanMyPC has a self booting disc then it is worthless for the worst infections.

It also promises things that are violations of physical laws or otherwise can not be possible.

In fact i could do better than CleanMyPC with the Windows Defender self booting disc and a couple other FREE tools.

in short Professor Elementals "Fighting Trousers" would be a good background song for this posting.

Re:Please stop posting this drivel (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40041353)

Yeah - and if they aren't identified and banned soon you can bet AC posting will become a thing of the past here at /. Jerks. GET LOST!

Re:Please stop posting this drivel (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40041447)

...wait, I just realized something... (puts tinfoil hat on)...

IT'S SLASHDOT DOING THIS TO US!!!

Too... many... (5, Funny)

chrissigler (1930758) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039825)

...White House budget office's intelligence branch.

Too... many... oxymorons...

Cannot... resist...

Re:Too... many... (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039879)

I'm just wondering why the budget office needs an intelligence branch. Are they stealing budget ideas from other governments? Are their latest figures going to get hijacked or blown up?

Re:Too... many... (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040435)

"oxymoron". Is that a rusty moron?

The word "cyber" (1)

markkezner (1209776) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039875)

Slightly off-topic, but am I the only one that thinks the word "cyber" is a silly 90's throwback?

Re:The word "cyber" (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039965)

It's hard to take anyone seriously who's still using that word with a straight face.

Re:The word "cyber" (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040569)

It's hard to take anyone seriously who's still using that word with a straight face.

Kevin Warwick? (Professor of Cybernetics)

CC.

Re:The word "cyber" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40041373)

You were supposed to find people who weren't silly 90s throwbacks.

Re:The word "cyber" (1)

kestryn (222463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40042427)

It might behoove you to get over that. The head of the US National Security Agency, a four-star general, is 'dual-hatted' as the head of United States Cyber Command. I'm pretty sure most of the 'serious' world takes his efforts seriously.

Facebook links for fun:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/United-States-Cyber-Command/117614808290017
http://www.facebook.com/pages/NSA/106066839432866?rf=113191532024730

Also, have you seen NSA's publicly-released documentation on UFO's? Hilarity.
Here's the general link full of frequently requested information that (retired crazy) people frequently request:
http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/declass/index.shtml
And the UFO stuff:
http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/declass/ufo/index.shtml

Re:The word "cyber" (0)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#40042531)

Four-star general? Then I'll refer to him if I need any advice on friendly fire?

Re:The word "cyber" (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040063)

It's silly to the technical population. It still sounds serious to the layperson. There's a bit of a language disconnect. I'm sure you've seen the regular debates around here regarding the definition of 'hacker,' fought between those who wish to stay true to the old meaning and those who wish to accept the corrupt but more-popular meaning to avoid confusion.

Re:The word "cyber" (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40044713)

I'm sure you've seen the regular debates around here regarding the definition of 'hacker,' fought between those who wish to stay true to the old meaning and those who wish to accept the corrupt but more-popular meaning to avoid confusion.

Yeah, good luck avoiding confusing a layperson. I thought it was hilarious this morning watching the looks on reporters' faces when they saw "HACK!" graffittied on a wall at Facebook HQ with Zuckenberg smiling, an their confusion at the "hackathon" they pulled last night.

Re:The word "cyber" (2, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040101)

It's short for Cybernetics, which is a much older throw back, (nearly?) pre-dating computers, and is applicable not only to technology, but any system with information feedback loops. Cybernetic research has been a huge boon to business since at least the 50s.

Applying "Cyber" to only systems of logic in a computer or computer network is just wrong and should end. Your own mind is a Cybernetic Entity.

Re:The word "cyber" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40041309)

The word "cybernetic" comes from the Greek kubernetes, same as the Latin gubernator (from which we get the word governor), meaning helmsman. It means remote control, control at a distance. The idea when coined by Norbert Wiener in 1948 was that you could have robot automata, you would give them instructions, and they would go away from you and carry out those instructions at a distance.

Unless you feel that your mind is a system that can be hacked remotely by other entities and forced to carry out their instructions, your mind is not a cybernetic entity.

Re:The word "cyber" (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40041615)

Unless you feel that your mind is a system that can be hacked remotely by other entities and forced to carry out their instructions, your mind is not a cybernetic entity.

I take it you don't watch television. This appears to be the principle that marketing lives by.

Re:The word "cyber" (1)

kestryn (222463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40042537)

Further, Cyber is often used today as a short version of "Cyberspace", which I suppose, to align with your comment, is really Cyberneticsspace. agh.

Re:The word "cyber" (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040241)

I've cyber-spoken to many cyber-people in the TFA's "cyber field" and I still can't give you a straight answer.

Maybe we should build a sandboxed subset of the Internet for journalists called CYBER-SPACE that consists of nothing but their organizations' websites and a mountain of child porn. Cyber child porn.

Re:The word "cyber" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40045381)

Another rat deserting the good ship S.S. 0bama!

Re:The word "cyber" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40066199)

Speak for yourself

Try asking someone "wanna cyber" in chat... (1)

Sosarian Avatar (2509846) | more than 2 years ago | (#40049897)

I usually think back to a very common use/meaning of the word "cyber" in 90s chatrooms [viewonline.com] . (I have no connection to that article, it was just one of the first useful search results.)

And welcome Linus Torvalds as surgeon general! (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039911)

Schmidt will be replaced by Michael Daniel, currently the head of the White House budget office's intelligence branch.

Um, come again?

Someone kindly point out what makes this manager-of-auditors-of-bean-counters, with a background totally unrelated to cybersecurity or even IT in general, qualified to coordinate the nation's response to Chinese and Iranian hackers?

Re:And welcome Linus Torvalds as surgeon general! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039947)

Well for starters he knows that for every one American cyberworrier there are 100 Chinese ones. :D

Re:And welcome Linus Torvalds as surgeon general! (3, Interesting)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039999)

I don't know if the "cyberworrier" typo is intentional, but it seems oddly appropriate.

Re:And welcome Linus Torvalds as surgeon general! (3, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040037)

Schmidt will be replaced by Michael Daniel, currently the head of the White House budget office's intelligence branch.

Um, come again?

Someone kindly point out what makes this manager-of-auditors-of-bean-counters, with a background totally unrelated to cybersecurity or even IT in general, qualified to coordinate the nation's response to Chinese and Iranian hackers?

He can make a great speech you insensitive clod.

Re:And welcome Linus Torvalds as surgeon general! (1)

niado (1650369) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040121)

This is common in the corporate world as well. CIO's and heads of IT security are often just managers with little-to-no actual IT experience/knowledge.

Re:And welcome Linus Torvalds as surgeon general! (1)

kestryn (222463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40042485)

Did you note "intelligence branch"? NSA and US Cyber Command are run by the same guy. The signals intelligence community in the US *is* the community responding to the nation-state hacking threat.

Re:And welcome Linus Torvalds as surgeon general! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40046311)

... qualified to coordinate ...

Exactly that; because he is managing people. He doesn't need to know the technical details. Of course, such ignorance leads to bloated middle-management or surveillance-based policies. This is the natural response of all managers.

White House budget office's intelligence branch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039919)

Now there's an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

Too... many... cybers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039921)

Really, the US is going with cyber. So hi-tec sounding.. for Doctor Who 1964.

and thats going on his CV, 40 years of IT experience described for the clueless. Should get a gig that pays extremely well.

Welcome to the future.

America don't need no steenking czars (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040011)

The Bolsheviks had the right idea when they rise up and got rid of them. But since it's America you can just lay them off and not have to shoot their wives and families.

The White house can have a policy wonk, but no need to give them " czarlike" powers or any more title than "advisor." The Guy who was elected shouldn't be insulated from responsibility by an unelected staffer with a big title and media who go along with the fiction that he hassome kind of independent authority.

Re:America don't need no steenking czars (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040127)

In other words, in Soviet Russia, the people control the czars!

Re:America don't need no steenking czars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40040813)

They don't have Czarlike powers, and Coordinator is about the same as advisor.

The appellation "czar" is just a media fixation, nothing more. If you want to get rid of czars, you will have to start shooting the members of the press.

Would you like their addresses?

Re:America don't need no steenking czars (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40048659)

I don't have that many guns. I'm going to need more bolsheviks.

Dull gray man replaced by duller, grayer man (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040059)

I'm sure he'll stamp his authority and re-invigorate the department by immediately setting up a Blue Ribbon committee to come up with the selection criteria for choosing an external consulting firm which will be tasked with planning a review of the mandatory fonts to be used on all internal memoranda.

Re:Dull gray man replaced by duller, grayer man (5, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040143)

To quote the new guy, "Don't quote me regulations. I co-chaired the committee that reviewed the recommendation to revise the color of the book that regulation's in. We kept it gray."

opportunities in the cyber field... (1)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40042659)

i chuckled at this, "cyber field" , really?

You misunderstand... (2)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#40043299)

To the federal government "Cyber Security" means "...how we protect the IT assets of banks, large corporations, and others who give us large campaign contributions. You little people are on your own. Piss off."

Re:You misunderstand... (1)

FormOfActionBanana (966779) | more than 2 years ago | (#40047197)

Little people depend on the stability of banks, large corporations, and others. We all interdepend on that shit.

Re:You misunderstand... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40048673)

Only in the public eye.

In reality, it's more about how they protect government informations systems.

NSTIC an opportunity we can't afford to waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40045653)

Your "National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace" credentials, or "Trusted Identity", would be naturally abreiviated as "NaSTI", so in practice when we recieved an authentication token, we would be "getting nasty", we might refer to the authentication process "doing the nasty", you could say to your friends or co-workers to "show me your nasty", or you might simply suggest "let's get nasty".

It is imperative that the public enjoy the bennefits of this hillarious technology as soon as possible.

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