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Entrepreneur to head U.S. cybersecurity center
Published: 2008-03-21

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday that it had chosen Rod Beckström -- a risk-software entrepreneur, author and global activist -- to become the first director of the newly created National Cyber Security Center (NCSC).

Beckström, who graduated from Stanford University with a BA and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), founded CATS Software in the 1990s, creating risk-management software for banks. Until he left to take the directorship, Beckström was the chairman of Twiki.net, a company that aids companies in creating Wiki's for business collaboration, according to his online bio.

As the first director of the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), Beckström "will serve the department by coordinating cybersecurity efforts and improving situational awareness and information sharing across the federal government," the DHS said in a statement released on Thursday.

Earlier this month, eleven federal agencies and more than 40 companies took part in Cyber Storm II, the second war game aimed at testing the responsiveness of the government and private owners of critical infrastructure to attack. Top officials at the DHS have called for private-sector companies to communicate more information on threats, so that broad attacks can be identified sooner.

The state of the United States' cyber defenses has become a major topic among lawmakers and policy makers. Last month, members of the House Committee on Homeland Security questioned the Bush Administration's ability to secure federal networks through the Cyber Initiative, which calls for $30 billion to be spent over the next five to seven years to reduce the number of trusted Internet connections (TICs) and more effectively monitor those connections. Attacks sponsored by other nations, in particular China, have worried the U.S. military.

In 2006, Gregory Garcia, a former technology-industry lobbyist, became the first Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Telecommunications at the Department of Homeland Security.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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