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By Brian Robinson

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Feds may require cybersecurity credential for workforce

Reports are emerging about recommendations that the Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency will make to the Obama administration that will require government and contractor employees involved in cybersecurity be formally certified.

The commission is a group overseen by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and published its first report on securing cyberspace in December 2008. It’s expected to issue its follow-up report later this month or in early July.

That’s likely to spur a debate about just what a cybersecurity credential is, versus that for regular IT security. There are many people involved in the cybersecurity know that don’t have any kind of formal qualifications, but are nevertheless leaders in the nascent field.

It will also stir up debate about the needs of organizations such as the Homeland Security Department , which has said it aims to hire around 1,000 cybersecurity professionals. If it wants that size of a cybersecurity workforce, it may have to become involved in defining just what a cybersecurity professional is. If new Senate legislation becomes law, DHS could become the lead on this issue for the federal government.

And where will the military’s new Cyber Command stand on this? It has its own view on what cybersecurity means, which include offensive as well as defensive capabilities.

Maybe it’s time for another acronym to be thrown into the mix. We already have the CIO, CTO and CSO. Perhaps there should also be a CCSO. No?

 

Posted on Jun 14, 2010 at 7:27 PM3 comments


Help wanted: Twitter looks to hire a 'government liaison'

If you Washington types ever thought about what it would be like to actually work for Twitter, rather than just experience it through your thumbs, now is the time to find out. The company is looking for a “government liaison.”

This will be the company’s first DC employee — in fact, the first outside of Twitter’s small San Francisco office — and “the closest point of contact with a variety of important people and organizations looking to get the most out of Twitter on both strategic and highly tactical levels,” according to the job announcement.

The reverse side of that is that the person appointed will also be expected to feed Twitter execs with ideas of how to spread the microblogging services to politicos. It could be an important base for the company’s future, given the current mania for all-things Twitter.

Again, according to the announcement, the successful candidate will “help set the culture and approach of a fledgling public policy department and be an important part of our very small company.”

Take the “very small” bit with a pinch of salt. Yes, Twitter only employs about 200 people, but that doesn’t relate to anything in the world of the Internet. More importantly, take a look at the growth of the company as reported by GigaOM: 65 million tweets a day for a total of 2 billion so far.

Suffice to say, the eventual Twitter liaison will be a very sought-after contact in DC.

Posted on Jun 09, 2010 at 7:27 PM0 comments


Research and development game-changers for cybersecurity

The administration is trying to take cybersecurity to the next level with an R&D program aimed at producing what it sees as game-changing technologies that will “significantly enhance the trustworthiness of cyberspace.”

It will kick off the new program at an event May 19 in Berkeley, Calif., where people from agencies that make up the Federal Networking and Information technology Research and Development (NITRD) program will explain the program’s goals. It will include a webcast.

Basically, it will split the research into three areas: tailored trustworthy spaces, which are “sub-spaces” in cyberspace that support different security policies and services for specific kinds of interactions; something called moving target, which will increase the cost of any asymmetric attack, presumably to make attackers think twice before they act; and cyber economic incentives, which will look at the economic principles needed to encourage good practices.

The NITRD is one of the older continuing R&D efforts in government, going all the way back to the 1991 High Performance Computing Act, and it’s had a good success rate. Cybersecurity was a focus for it well before it became the hot issue it now is.

The NITRD isn’t proposing this three-step program as a be-all for cybersecurity, but it does expect it to be a precursor for different ways of thinking about the problems of cybersecurity, and a way of “provoking” novel solutions.

(Hat Tip to govinfosecurity.com)

Posted on May 17, 2010 at 7:27 PM0 comments


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