Uncle Cyber Sam wants you

Obama administration makes a full-court press to engage industry and the public in the crusade against cyber war

All of a sudden, the cyber spooks and watchdogs in the Obama administration are coming out of the shadows, making a full-court press to engage industry and the public in their crusade against cyber war.

Howard Schmidt, the president’s new cybersecurity chief, Janet Napolitano, homeland security secretary, and FBI Director Robert Mueller made sequential keynote addresses in early March at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. Schmidt made the biggest news, opening the “Einstein 3 Kimono,” as Richi Jennings of Computerworld’s IT Blogwatch put it, referring to the unveiling of the super-secret Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative and a summary of its 12-point program.

Einstein 3 is a next-generation tool the government is developing to protect the civilian government domain. The summary said the program “will draw on commercial technology and specialized government technology to conduct real-time full packet inspection and threat-based decision-making on network traffic entering or leaving these executive branch networks.”

It's definitely eye-opening, wrote Kit Eaton of Fast Company. “And while you may suspect that Schmidt could only reveal the tiniest of details about such an important plan, he actually spilled quite a few beans in an attempt to get academics and private companies to buy into the government's plans.”

Napolitano, appearing the next day, said public education will be a critical part of the agency’s strategy. She announced the launch of a new competition that asks any and all comers for help in designing a cybersecurity public awareness campaign. Her ambition is “comparable in scale to forest fire and smoking prevention campaigns,” wrote Alejandro Martinez-Cabrera in SFGate’s The Tech Chronicles.

You can go to www.dhs.gov/cyberchallenge to submit your ideas. And, of course, they will remain confidential.







About the Author

David Rapp is editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week and VP of content for 1105 Government Information Group.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.