Cult of Cyberwar: Laugher of the Day

Posted in Cyberterrorism, Extremism at 12:54 pm by George Smith

Americans are nothing if not the foremost braggarts in the world. It’s embedded in the national DNA.

There isn’t a day that goes by without someone being proclaimed a rockstar, a wizard, a true star. Usually in complete absence of any proof why this should be so except that lickspittling in corporate America.

Today’s headline at the always exciting read: Government Information Security.

Some blogger, writing with no discernible sense of humor:

Howard Schmidt doesn’t look like one, but he’s a rock star in the cybersecurity universe. As proof: the White House cybersecurity coordinator will headline the biggest IT security show of them all, the RSA Conference in San Francisco this week.

Schmidt will give not one, but two performances Tuesday: The keynote address at midday and an early evening town-hall-style meeting, where he’ll field questions from adoring fans and, no doubt, some critics of administration cybersecurity policy.

This in a column entitled “Howard Schmidt Achieves Rock-Star Status.”

I’d recommend reading the rest but it’s devoid of folksy jokes for the sake of boilerplate and name-checking.

Schmidt, since being named the Obama administration’s cyberczar, has been absent from the ongoing chronicles of the Cult of Cyberwar.

The top voices running the show are Alan Paller — of the vaunted Paller-Scope, Mike McConnell/Booz Allen, Jim “Wild West” Lewis and the McAfee business.

And that’s proven by ‘science’ here.

Not a trace of Howard Schmidt to be seen in these critical times.

But way back in 2002, DD wrote this about Schmidt and his aptitude for security conferencing, at Securityfocus:

This month’s dose of demented prediction comes to you courtesy of Howard Schmidt, chairman vice of the President’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board.

Alleged “zero-day viruses and affinity worms” will sunder business records, as reported in Network World Fusion and credited to a Schmidt speech at an Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) conference. Brokerage house trading records will be scrambled, corporate networks rendered molten, CEOs humiliated.

This is not the worst. Traffic lights, pacemakers, appliances — all subject to outages and interruptions because in the future they’re controlled via Internet, declares Schmidt. The power grid could fail catastrophically by 2005! [That was certainly prescient. — DD, 2010.] Cats and dogs fornicate in the street as the sky turns black as sackcloth.

If it’s the first time for you at one of these [security] cons, where your employer coughs up anywhere from $500 – $1900 for the price of admission, Schmidt’s virus alarums might seem quite remarkable, even prescient. The remora-like journalists who get in gratis will assuage any lingering doubts you have as to the value of his lecture by emphasizing the most fantastic elements of it in the trades. If your boss reads the published result, it’s all good. You were educated at the feet of the guru.

In simplest terms, Schmidt is a computer security celebrity junketeer, a highly specialized occupation somewhat obscured by an official biography bulging with professional-strength acronyms. Much of his time is spent as a featured speaker jetting around corporate America. Search engines return Schmidt lectures everywhere in 2002: Atlantic City/HTCIA 2002 con, Cybercrime 2002, IT Business Forum, RIMS.ORG, New York State’s “Cyberstrategies,” the Chicago National Cybercrime Conference, South Sound (Washington), the National State Association of Chief Information Officer’s midyear confab, High-End Computing in an Insecure World, WSATA 2002 (the Western States Association of Tax Administrators), Trust & Security in Cyberspace at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Defending Against Information Warfare, the Secure e-Business Executive Summit, Winning the War on Cyberterrorism at Washington University of St. Louis, Microsoft’s Government Leaders 2002…

Ouch, I feel an airline coach-class thrombosis coming on just browsing the list!

As a deliverer of keynote addresses, Schmidt has created a powerful image of furious action in the name of national security. Indeed, he has become an invaluable mover in the computer-trouble industry economy.

Not for everyday public idlers are these affairs, oh no!

Cult of Cyberwar from the archives.

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