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Schmidt to take greater role in U.S. cybersecurity

The nation's former cybersecurity czar agrees to advise the government's incident response team.

The United States' former cybersecurity czar, Howard Schmidt, has agreed to take a greater role in the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) as an adviser, he said Monday.

, the chief security officer of online auctioneer eBay, currently cooperates with Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute and that group's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordination Center to advise the nation's incident response team. The Department of Homeland Security has asked him to play a greater part, he said. He has agreed but is currently discussing the details with the Department of Homeland Security and eBay.

"I will take a more active role," he said.

Howard Schmidt
Schmidt will probably help manage the communication between the government group and the private companies that own more than 80 percent of the nation's Internet and communications infrastructure, expanding the role he has taken as a working group co-chairman in the National Cyber Security Partnership and as the founder of the Global CSO Council.

"The pieces that are in place are going to require more activity and a more in-depth role that you can't do by meeting only once a quarter," he said.

The details are still being discussed, he said, adding that no title has yet been decided upon. He will not be working as part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but rather with Carnegie Mellon's CERT Coordination Center.

DHS officials did not immediately reply to requests for comment on Schmidt's role.

Amit Yoran, who succeeded Schmidt as top cybersecurity official in the United States, resigned this month, a little more than a year after joining the Department of Homeland Security. He was tasked with carrying out a major part of the initiatives outlined in President Bush's cybersecurity plan, which some argue he couldn't accomplish because he lacked direct access to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

Schmidt worked as Microsoft's chief security officer and then, from January 2002 to April 2003, as the vice chairman of the White House's National Critical Infrastructure Protection Board.

Schmidt stressed that with this latest move, he is not "going back to government," but rather working with government and private industry.