Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cyber-Security Czar Calls Cyberattack Vulnerability Exaggerated

This is a change. A top government official, Cyber-Security Czar Howard Schmidt, says that vulnerability to cyberattacks is exaggerated. Here's a clip from a Newsweek interview:
Newsweek:When you see what makes it onto the evening news, would you say the worry about U.S. vulnerability to cyberattack is exaggerated? Or are we not worried enough?

Schmidt: I would say it’s exaggerated. Things have to be taken in perspective, and if you look at the billions of transactions that take place online every day, whether it’s e-commerce [or] watching online videos [or] online banking, there’s a tremendous amount of really wonderful, rich robust things that are taking place. But like anything else, the things that make the news are the things that aren’t working well...
Newsweek:How has your perspective on our vulnerabilities changed in light of news stories like those about Stuxnet [the targeted computer virus that damaged part of the Iranian nuclear program]?

Schmidt: The vast majority of what we consider to be critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. We’re working with them to [determine] where we can get these things fixed now, where we need to redirect or remediate, and what are the resources the government can bring to bear, such as law enforcement, to send a clear message: “Don’t do this, because you will be found out.”

Newsweek: People are saying that we’re facing a new breed of cyberattack that’s much more advanced and targeted than in the past. Is that a false perception?

Schmidt: I don’t think that’s a false perception. I recognize—and many of my colleagues in the private sector and in government recognize—that there’s a real threat out there. But the threat sort of follows the way we build our defenses against it, and I think those things continue to move in parallel.

The full interview is here.

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