Carnegie Mellon Hosts White House Meeting on Cybersecurity
Howard Schmidt, vice chair of The President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board (CIPB), visited campus in late October to lead a town hall meeting at Carnegie Mellon to stress the importance of securing the nation's critical infrastructure and to openly discuss The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace released last September by the Bush Administration.
"We chose Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon in particular because of the access we have to experts, different industries and the general public," Schmidt said. "It is wonderful to see and learn about all of the great research and development happening in the area of cybersecurity at Carnegie Mellon University." The standing-room-only crowd in McConomy Auditorium, which included representatives from industry, the university and local government, participated in an interactive two-hour discussion to learn more about the national strategy and what they can do to protect our nation's infrastructure.
Joining Schmidt on the dais were two of Carnegie Mellon's cybersecurity experts, Richard Pethia and William Guttman. Pethia is director of the Software Engineering Institute's Networked Systems Survivability program and CERT® Coordination Center. Guttman is a distinguished service professor of economics and technology at the Heinz School and head of the Sustainable Computer Consortium. Schmidt, Pethia and Guttman were joined by Martin G. McGuinn, chairman and CEO of Mellon Financial Corporation.
The panel was introduced by Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon, who is a member of the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council. "Cybersecurity may be our most vulnerable and our most important avenue for terrorist attacks," Cohon said. "We are honored to have such a distinguished panel here to discuss the national strategy."
Schmidt explained that the draft National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace was developed in response to the President's executive order on cyberspace security through a voluntary public-private partnership to empower every American to secure their portion of cyberspace. The strategy provides recommendations, strategic goals, programs, discussion items and guidance for five areas: home-users and small businesses, large enterprises, sectors of the economy, national issues and global issues.
"The strategy offers a road map to ensure the protection of information systems of critical infrastructure and the physical assets that support such systems," Schmidt said. "This strategy offers 86 recommendations on how America can make cyberspace secure."
Schmidt toured Carnegie Mellon's new Center for Communications and Computer Security (C3S), led by Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Pradeep Khosla. He then visited the Sustainable Computer Consortium, where Guttman briefed him on the work, goals and objectives of the consortium.
At a press conference at the SEI, Schmidt provided a high-level overview of the national strategy and the importance of getting the public's attention on this crucial topic.
"It is the policy of the United States to secure our nation's infrastructure," Schmidt said. "We must work together and provide leadership in this area. Technology is not static, technology is changing and everyone must be responsible for their own cyberspace."
When asked about cybersecurity, Pethia explained that incidents are always occurring.
"These incidents are not occasional or out of the ordinary, but they are increasing," Pethia said. "We need to pay more attention to computer security now and get involved. Read the strategy and find a way to get connected so we can get our arms around this issue."
United States Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan announced the creation of National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), one of the first federal, state and local high-tech crime task forces in the country. Carnegie Mellon provides the task force with feedback and subject matter experts.
To download the natural strategy see www.whitehouse.gov/pcipb/