'Frustrated' U.S. Cybersecurity Chief Abruptly Resigns

R. A. Hettinga rah at shipwright.com
Fri Oct 1 14:55:46 EDT 2004



'Frustrated' U.S. Cybersecurity Chief Abruptly Resigns

POSTED: 11:32 AM EDT October 1, 2004
WASHINGTON -- The government's cybersecurity chief has abruptly resigned
after one year with the Department of Homeland Security, confiding to
industry colleagues his frustration over what he considers a lack of
attention paid to computer security issues within the agency.

 Amit Yoran, a former software executive from Symantec Corp., informed the
White House about his plans to quit as director of the National Cyber
Security Division and made his resignation effective at the end of
Thursday, effectively giving a single's day notice of his intentions to

 Yoran said Friday he "felt the timing was right to pursue other
opportunities." It was unclear immediately who might succeed him even
temporarily. Yoran's deputy is Donald "Andy" Purdy, a former senior adviser
to the White House on cybersecurity issues.

 Yoran has privately described frustrations in recent months to colleagues
in the technology industry, according to lobbyists who recounted these
conversations on condition they not be identified because the talks were

 As cybersecurity chief, Yoran and his division - with an $80 million
budget and 60 employees - were responsible for carrying out dozens of
recommendations in the Bush administration's "National Strategy to Secure
Cyberspace," a set of proposals to better protect computer networks.

 Yoran's position as a director -- at least three steps beneath Homeland
Security Secretary Tom Ridge -- has irritated the technology industry and
even some lawmakers. They have pressed unsuccessfully in recent months to
elevate Yoran's role to that of an assistant secretary, which could mean
broader authority and more money for cybersecurity issues.

 "Amit's decision to step down is unfortunate and certainly will set back
efforts until more leadership is demonstrated by the Department of Homeland
Security to solve this problem," said Paul Kurtz, a former cybersecurity
official on the White House National Security Council and now head of the
Washington-based Cyber Security Industry Alliance, a trade group.

 Under Yoran, Homeland Security established an ambitious new cyber alert
system, which sends urgent e-mails to subscribers about major virus
outbreaks and other Internet attacks as they occur, along with detailed
instructions to help computer users protect themselves.

 It also mapped the government's universe of connected electronic devices,
the first step toward scanning them systematically for weaknesses that
could be exploited by hackers or foreign governments. And it began
routinely identifying U.S. computers and networks that were victims of

 Yoran effectively replaced a position once held by Richard Clarke, a
special adviser to President Bush, and Howard Schmidt, who succeeded Clarke
but left government during the formation of the Department of Homeland
Security to work as chief security officer at eBay Inc.

 Yoran cofounded Riptech Inc. of Alexandria, Va., in March 1998, which
monitored government and corporate computers around the world with an
elaborate sensor network to protect against attacks. He sold the firm in
July 2002 to Symantec for $145 million and stayed on as vice president for
managed security services.

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at ibuc.com>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

The Cryptography Mailing List
Unsubscribe by sending "unsubscribe cryptography" to majordomo at metzdowd.com

More information about the cryptography mailing list