The Great Debate

National cyber security leadership starts now

enrique_salem_300dpi1– Enrique Salem is president and CEO of Symantec Corp. The views expressed are his own. –

We recently had the privilege of hosting Melissa Hathaway, cyber security chief at the National Security Council, at Symantec’s Government Symposium, our annual conference for public sector customers and government officials.

In one of her first appearances following the White House announcement of the 60-day cyber review results, which examined the country’s preparedness against cyber attacks, Ms. Hathaway outlined the report’s recommendations to help the United States achieve a more reliable, resilient, and trustworthy digital infrastructure for the future.

Development of the report is a reflection of the Administration’s commitment to addressing our nation’s cyber security and elevating it to the national priority that it deserves. We whole heartedly support President Obama’s efforts and appreciate his leadership on this initiative.

The report recommends that the president names an official who would be responsible for coordinating the nation’s cyber security policies and activities across government. This is a critical and necessary position that should be a senior adviser in the White House.

Rising tide of cyber-crime shows why we need Web regulation

Michael BarrettMichael Barrett is the Chief Information Security Officer at PayPal. He is on the advisory board of StopBadware.org, an anti-malware “neighborhood watch” led by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

In less than five years, Internet crime has changed from an anomaly of teenage vandals into a multi-billion dollar industry. Just one form of cyber crime, “phishing,” where criminals masquerade as trustworthy entities in e-mails and instant messages to steal private data, reportedly amassed $3.2 billion last year.  Another form, spyware, where software surreptitiously monitors a victim’s online activity, prompted 850,000 U.S. households to replace their computers and inflicted damages totaling $1.7 billion, reported the Consumer Reports National Research Center State of the Net Survey.

At the same time, Internet usage has skyrocketed worldwide with 20 percent of the world’s population, or about one billion people, online today. It’s not hard to understand why the Internet’s popularity has continued to grow in the face of its threats. Could you get through your workday without e-mail or search? Could your kids make it to dinner without checking Facebook or sending a text? If you’re like most people I know, the answer is likely, “no way.”