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U.S. Cybersecurity Chief Resigns
Emily Gertz, 1 Oct 04

Not exactly worldchanging, but worth noting, lest it get lost like most Friday night dispatches from Washington DC: Amit Yoran, a former Symantec exec who has led cybersecurity efforts at the Department of Homeland Security for one year, announced today that he was leaving the job, on one day's notice. The New York Times reports, "Yoran has privately confided to industry colleagues his frustrations in recent months over what he considers the department's lack of attention paid to computer security issues..." He was the third guy to have the job, after Richard Clarke and Howard Schmidt.

As a director in DHS, rather than a secretary-level official, he was too far removed from real power to develop effective cybersecurity policy and action; lawmakers and the tech industry "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 programs."

Here's an interview Yoran gave to the PBS documentary series Frontline in March 2003 (he was still with Symantec at the time) on cybersecurity in general and the Slammer virus in particular.

Frontline: Has the overall view out there changed when it comes to the idea of the cyber world being used as an attack method?

Yoran: It's almost like the adoption of air power. There are some very forward-thinking people that understand the capabilities and what might be able to occur down the road, but they're very few and far between. Different countries and different infrastructures have increasing or decreasing levels of vulnerability, depending on what their infrastructure looks like.

So there's little doubt in my mind that, years from now, this will be a primary method of attack, a primary theater of operations, if you will. But I don't think we're there.

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