National Association of Attorneys General

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White House Names Cyber Coordinator

The White House named Howard Schmidt as its cyber security coordinator Dec. 22. In this role, Schmidt coordinates cyber security policy across the federal government from the military to civilian agencies.

Cyber threats represent “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation,” Schmidt said in a posted video following his appointment. “…I look forward to working with our leadership from…state, local and tribal governments…to ensure that our economic and national security interests are enhanced with our combined cyber security efforts.”

Attorneys General have a growing role in investigating and prosecuting computer-based crimes. All states have enacted laws that criminalize online child solicitation and pornography, often with enhanced penalties for repeat offenders. Many states have also enacted criminal statutes for computer intrusions, many of which have enhanced penalties for hacking of a government computer. Other computer crimes such as Internet fraud, Internet auction fraud and computer-facilitated identity theft are addressed through updated state consumer protection laws.

Prior to this White House appointment, Schmidt was president and CEO of the Information Security Forum, a nonprofit international consortium that conducts information security research. From 2001 – 2003 he was a cyber adviser for President Bush. His 40-year career includes 31 years in local and federal government service. He served as an advisor to the FBI and has worked at the National Drug Intelligence Center. Schmidt has also served as chief security officer for Microsoft and as vice president and chief information security officer for eBay.

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