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United States Security

Microsoft Executive Tapped For Top DHS Cyber Post 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the reboot-to-be-safe dept.
krebsatwpost writes "The Department of Homeland Security has named Microsoft's 'chief trustworthy infrastructure strategist' Phil Reitinger to be its top cyber security official. Many in the security industry praised him as a smart pick, but said he will need to confront a culture of political infighting and leadership failures at DHS. From the story: 'Reitinger comes to the position with cyber experience in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2003, he was executive director of the Defense Department's Computer Forensics Lab. Before that, he was deputy chief of the Justice Department's Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property section, where he worked under Scott Charney, who is currently corporate vice president for trustworthy computing at Microsoft.'"
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Microsoft Executive Tapped For Top DHS Cyber Post

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  • Boy oh boy. Obama seems to be turning into a big disappointment with some of these appointments.

    What'll he do next? Appoint Mike Tyson as head of Department of Heath and Human Services?

    • by Praedon (707326) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:49AM (#27163347) Journal
      Nope. New department, which is Department for Cannibal Relations.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by timmarhy (659436)
      what do you expect, you people carried on like it was the second comming when you elected him. no one can live up to that kind of hype.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

        What do you mean, "you people"?

        • by El Torico (732160)

          People who can use punctuation, capitalization, and spell properly. Actually, I think he was referring to those who voted the President into office.

          • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

            by mi (197448)

            People who can use punctuation, capitalization, and spell properly. Actually, I think he was referring to those who voted the President into office.

            Actually, no, most of the people voting for Obama didn't know some very basic things [howobamagotelected.com] about him or the opposition. And what they did know, was often wrong.

            In the particularly striking example, the vast majority attributed the infamous I can see Russia from my house! [brisbanetimes.com.au] to Sarah Palin, when, in fact, the phrase was coined by Saturday Night Live, who were mocking her

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @08:04AM (#27164767) Homepage

      Why do you people think that the next new guy will be any different than the last one? I don't care WHO is elected. If they are Democrat or Republican, they will cater to their interests first and do the right thing last.

      MSFT funded a lot of his campaign. This is paying them back by appointing one of their executives, or they use their buddies.
      This happens every change of power.

      I just get a royal kick out of all the "WOO CHANGE!" people all sitting in their chairs sober now with their mouth open at the TV sets staring in disbelief.

      The only advantage is that this time our president is actually educated and articulate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:47AM (#27163329)
    Before that, he was deputy chief of the Justice Department's Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property section, where he worked under Scott Charney, who is currently corporate vice president for trustworthy computing at Microsoft

    Trust... worthy... computing at Microsoft... Isn't there a law that prohibits the words trustworthy and Microsoft in the same sentence?
    • by erroneus (253617)

      To be fair, "trustworthy computing" was just a buzzword that meant "DOS with no network card on the PC." It was still a work in progress and clearly has not been released yet.

      • Alas no (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @10:01AM (#27166161) Homepage

        The term might not be used as often, but the concept is alive and well

        "the new chips will 'block unauthorized access to the frame buffer.' ...

        There is a short list of parties who will be unauthorized to access your frame buffer: You. There is a long list of parties who are authorized to access your frame buffer, and that list includes Microsoft, Apple, AMD, Intel, ATI, NVidia, Sony Pictures, Paramount, HBO, CBS, Macrovision, and all other content owners and enablers that want your machine to themselves whenever youâ(TM)re watching, listening to, reading, or shooting monsters with their products. "

        http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/03/28/14OPcurve_1.html [infoworld.com]

        • You're missing one person on the long list. You. There is no prohibition on you choosing what data you want encrypted. It's not limited to movie companies.

          It is possible to create content of your own you know. It's not you vs the world. You're a part of the world.

          Here is just one example. (Beside the obvious case where you encrypt a movie file.)

          This technology can be used for privacy adovcates as well. Want to make sure that no unauthorized applications are secretly recording your activities? This den

          • by spitzak (4019)

            Want to make sure that no unauthorized applications are secretly recording your activities? This denies access to the frame buffer from remote viewing.

            Wrong. This is only possible if you control the keys to the TPM. If you cannot set the keys you cannot implement any method of making sure unauthorized applications (who do have the keys) are not running.

            The reason you cannot set the keys is because it would also allow you to set the keys the same as another machine, and thus play media that is authorized onl

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gadget junkie (618542)

      Before that, he was deputy chief of the Justice Department's Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property section, where he worked under Scott Charney, who is currently corporate vice president for trustworthy computing at Microsoft Trust... worthy... computing at Microsoft... Isn't there a law that prohibits the words trustworthy and Microsoft in the same sentence?

      I do not think it's forbidden, but it comes very close to the definition of Oxymoron, [wikipedia.org] i.e. mutually contradictory terms.

    • If there was a law, it would be the justice department that prosecuted it.

    • by cepayne (998850)

      At least the guy will be well aware of the exploits in the
      worlds most popular operating system, which is most often
      attacked in security breaches.

      Having a microsofty on the payroll ensures that your security
      breaches will be well accepted.

      Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies even closer!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:48AM (#27163339)

    I foresee a lot of Microsoft Security jokes in the following threads.

    Here is one

    Do you allow Phil Reitinger to be the top cyber security official?

    Allow | Deny

  • by Narnie (1349029) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:48AM (#27163343)
    There goes any chance of the DHS switching over to an linux/unix environment in the next decade.
    • Well, wouldn't a former Microsoft executive be in the best position to know how fucked up Microsoft security really is? You'd think this would be a case of the burned hand learning best, in this case, the burned hand is also the one who turned on the fire.

      Well, alright, I'm blowing smoke and I know it. :) Odds are this guy has so much stock in Microsoft and their affiliates that it doesn't matter what he personally believes, his wallet will be speaking for him. Obama is turning out to be fairly disappoi
    • Well they were going to hire a FOSS candidate but M$ came in and offered Phil Reitinger at 75% off.

      I hear they also threw in some CAL's and Vista upgrade licenses as well... at least that's how it worked out at my office

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:57AM (#27163377)
    this guy doesn't seem a half way bad pick. of course if it was my call i'd eliminate the whole DHS nonense and just fund the FBI,NSA,CIA and police properly. if those 4 agencies can't get it done wtf is the DHS going to add?
    • by Renraku (518261) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:04AM (#27163423) Homepage

      If we could achieve with nuclear fusion what we have achieved with DHS, we'd all be living off of cheap and reliable energy.

      Suffice to say, the DHS is rather self-sustaining. If it isn't keeping liquids off aircraft or your electronics in the baggage handlers' pockets, its harassing and keeping us American citizens in fear.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Chas (5144)

        If we could achieve with nuclear fusion what we have achieved with DHS

        What? A parasitic reaction that just consumes and consumes and consumes, is more of a hindrance than a help, and wastes tons of money in the process?

        • If we could achieve with nuclear fusion what we have achieved with DHS

          What? A parasitic reaction that just consumes and consumes and consumes, is more of a hindrance than a help, and wastes tons of money in the process?

          Only to be given up on when another disaster claims the lives of thousands?

      • If it isn't keeping liquids off aircraft or your electronics in the baggage handlers' pockets, its harassing and keeping us American citizens in fear.

        So "re-settling to Mars now that we've blown the Earth up with fusion bombs" would be a more appropriate analogy than "living off of cheap and reliable energy". ;)

      • by Foofoobar (318279)

        Suffice to say, the DHS is rather self-sustaining. If it isn't keeping liquids off aircraft or your electronics in the baggage handlers' pockets, its harassing and keeping us American citizens in fear.

        Fear them? Why? Because they stand at every gateway in their suits shouting 'YOUR PAPERS!!' with a nazi accent before frisking you and sending you away to some internment camp in a foreign nation where they cant be prosecuted for waterboarding you?

        Whats to fear?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by retech (1228598)
      Did you mean: Cue or Queue?
    • by Narnie (1349029)

      this guy doesn't seem a half way bad pick. of course if it was my call i'd eliminate the whole DHS nonense and just fund the FBI,NSA,CIA and police properly. if those 4 agencies can't get it done wtf is the DHS going to add?

      DHS adds funding for the Coast Guard. Before the DHS nonsense, the CG was within the Department of Transportation. Not really enough money in the pot for the CG to keep a modern fleet and perform all of it's various rolls.

      Actually, that's about the only good I've seen come out of DHS.

      • by sunwukong (412560)

        Not really enough money in the pot for the CG to keep a modern fleet and perform all of it's various rolls.

        If they'd stop scuttling their vessels they wouldn't have to keep replacing them!

  • Good Grid! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:59AM (#27163391)
    Isn't that like asking the head of AIG to be the officer of "financial responsibility"???
  • by daemonburrito (1026186) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:02AM (#27163407) Journal

    I wonder if we will be seeing US-CERT standing up to Microsoft the way they did with this [us-cert.gov] (a vector for conficker) with him in charge.

    I have a sick feeling about this. This guy was surely part of the Microsoft effort to call this a feature. And what was this "political infighting" that the article alludes to? I hope it wasn't over whether to go after Microsoft for aiding in the creation of the largest botnet to date.

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      And what was this "political infighting" that the article alludes to? I hope it wasn't over whether to go after Microsoft for aiding in the creation of the largest botnet to date.

      It's not all about Microsoft. DHS is a new bureaucratic entity that's trying to establish itself by carving in to the fiefdoms of others. That alone leads to political infighting.

      The Fine Article alludes to examples of this. A governmental body with a quick leader churn isn't a good sign - that's folks realizing they're in a bad situation and bailing. Effective organizations keep their leadership. Ineffective organizations that are comfy maintain ineffective leadership - yet the leadership remains. Wi

  • In all seriousness (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:11AM (#27163463)
    While anecdotes from Windows users regarding how they tried to make an inherently insecure system secure could be extremely valuable, I doubt that anecdotes about how Microsoft executives tried to make their systems secure will be equally valuable. This was a ridiculous choice, and further undermines my initial hope that Obama might indeed turn out to be a good President.
    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:57AM (#27163729)
      The choice of an executive officer of a major supplier of operating systems -- Windows of all things -- to this position sends a clear message to those who have been involved in "security" issues for many years. And that message is: "We don't care about 'security' except to the extent that it affects our corporate friends."

      I am very saddened by this news.
  • by Snufu (1049644) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:12AM (#27163469)
    Anticipate all persons attempting to enter the U.S. to be screened for explosives, hazardous chemical agents, firearms, radioactive materials, and open source software.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:16AM (#27163499)

    I like how this guy, whom I don't know much about, is painted a smart pick, coming as he does from the largest single computer security threat on the planet. Anybody recall that up to not very long ago at all security was not on their agenda? Simply because it made them more money not to care.

    Oh, and that is remebering their own words and without mentioning the usual, such as that they are convicted monopolists too, their business practices suck, their code sucks, their customer service and sales techniques reminisces that of office depot, and so on and so forth.

    The bottom line is that in politics you usually don't let the guy who fucked it up try and fix it. Unless perhaps the guy has friends in high places.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gtall (79522)

      How do you explain the Congress then? They cannot all have friends in high places. Watch CSpan when they broadcast hearings sometime. It's amazing how clueless these morons can be, especially the House members. For some odd reason, Senators have two brain cells to rub together instead of a single loner.

      Typical Committee Hearing:

      Title: Investigation into Why Tarp Funds are being Misused.

      Purpose: Figure out if Tarp Funds are being misused.

      Dennis Kucinich: Blah, blah, blah, Ohio, blah, blah, I am NOT an idiot

    • I like how this guy, whom I don't know much about, is painted a smart pick, coming as he does from the largest single computer security threat on the planet.

      Yeah, how dare they pick a human that uses a computer.

    • by HiThere (15173)

      On behalf of Office Depot, I would like to ask you to retract that statement.

  • by wayward_bruce (988607) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:22AM (#27163533)

    Many in the security industry praised him as a smart pick, [...]

    Did anyone else misread this as "smart prick"?

    • by u38cg (607297)
      Several times, yes. I didn't actually question it, then I saw it again, and thought, that's a bit harsh...oh, I see.
    • by mdm42 (244204)

      Yes, I did.

      Not only that, but

      he will need to confront a culture of political infighting and leadership failures

      made me think, "He should be totally at home with that, then."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @05:05AM (#27163763)

    I think choosing someone from a company that is STILL under DoJ supervision for questionable behaviour has a couple of unwanted implications, especially since this guy was at board level.

    It's only good news for foreign industrial espionage and botnet herders..

  • The president's DHS pick has brought on board a liason from Symantec. Now everything will STILL be insecure, but run twice as slow, cost even MORE "way too much", and bitch, moan and cry about being renewed every year.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @05:45AM (#27163947)
    then he would be hiring Bruce Schneier for this job. I know he is disliked by a lot of industry but he is the man with the facts and the plan.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      If Obama were serious about duty, he would never have become president of the USA. Presidents who want to make a difference are not permitted to do so. A bit more cynically, I would say that presidential candidates who want to make a difference are demonized, like when they said Nader was responsible for the loss of Gore. Did anyone else catch that whole kerfluffle with the ballots in that election? You can't blame the stopping of a completely legal and by-the-book recount on the guy, can you?

      • Even that was not as blatant as the simple and direct refusal of the media to allow Ron Paul to participate in the more major debates this last election.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Even that was not as blatant as the simple and direct refusal of the media to allow Ron Paul to participate in the more major debates this last election.

          People could reasonably (incorrectly, but whatever) interpret that as media bias. Wielding the new and improved Supreme Court to stop a completely legal ballot recount which almost certainly would have reversed the election, on the other hand, could not be construed by an intelligent individual as anything other than direct manipulation of the election system for the purpose of altering the result. When the well-substantiated reports of ballot fraud started coming in and they universally targeted primarily-

          • But there was already precedent for that, from the previous election. I was referring to something pretty new.
          • I believe Jane was referring to the no-holds-barred media blackout of Ron Paul coverage in the MSM. I completely empathize as I feel that if he were allowed to participate in a few of the bigger debates he would have DESTROYED Obama, McCain, and Clinton.
            -Oz
    • If Obama were serious about his duty then he would be hiring Bruce Schneier for this job.

      Actually, Bruce Schneier would probably hire himself by forging a message from Obama that he should be hired, one so good that Obama even believes he wrote it.

    • He is a paid adviser for the TSA

  • You know, with countries like Iceland. They sure need an insight from a Microsoft exec right now...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...already said it.

  • Isn't sending Microsoft to fight insecurity like fighting fire with fire?
  • DHS calls on Microsoft for computer security.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

  • prepending "CYBER" to everything!! its so so wrong! *cries*
  • With this guys resume, it should be 'chief "Thurstworthy infrastructure strategist'

    -Oz

If a subordinate asks you a pertinent question, look at him as if he had lost his senses. When he looks down, paraphrase the question back at him.

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