Earlier this week, White House cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt gave his first public appearance following his appointment, claiming the Internet is more secure now than it has been in recent years.
Schmidt spoke at the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus’ State of the Internet Conference in Washington, D,C.
“I get asked this question all the time: are we more secure now than we were last year? Absolutely,” Schmidt said. “We got newer versions of software from the browser community. We got many choices out there now. They pay a lot of attention to the vulnerabilities, and fix them quickly.”
Schmidt will be responsible for coordinating the U.S. effort at enhancing cybersecurity nationwide, bringing together a variety of players with different capabilities and goals. He is also responsible for creating a coherent response plan to cyber attacks along with a national strategy.
“While we can’t stop the threat players out there, while we can only do so much to reduce vulnerabilities, we can take the step to make sure that we have steps in place to recover quickly from some of the things we might have to face someday,” he said.
A major criticism of the cybersecurity coordinator position is its lack of authority, particularly budgetary. However, Schmidt dismissed those concerns.
“I don’t believe that if you don’t have the budget authority, you can’t affect change,” he said.