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[ISN] Q&A: Amit Yoran talks cybersecurity
By Elinor Mills
October 7, 2009
West Point graduate Amit Yoran went from security work in the Air Force,
the Defense Department, and private industry before being tapped as
director of cybersecurity for the Department Homeland Security.
He joined DHS in September 2003 and left about a year later, the first
of several cybersecurity directors to have a short tenure. Now, the
38-year-old is chief executive of security firm NetWitness.
During the first week of National Cyber Security Awareness month, Yoran
talked to CNET News about his efforts getting a federal cybersecurity
program off the ground, how no organization is safe from attack and why
he is "anti-user." Here is the edited interview.
Q: The big question on everyone's mind is when will the administration
appoint a new cybersecurity czar and who will it be? Do you have any
comments on that?
Yoran: (Laughs) Apparently, they'll report it when they're good and
ready. I don't have any particular comment on that.
There's been a lot of talk about the structure. Do you think the
position should report to the White House or an agency like the National
Security Agency? Should the official snoops be in charge of protecting
security and privacy?
Yoran: (Laughs) Is that a biased question? No. In my mind clearly the
right thing to do is to put a coordinator at the White House. NSA has a
key role in cyber, but they've got their mission focus and there's a
number of other departments. And agencies that have other priorities and
activities in cyber that are relevant and need to be coordinated at the
White House level.
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