The US Department of Homeland Security has lost its most senior dedicated information security executive, Amit Yoran, the day before a collection of US-based technology companies launched ‘national cyber security awareness month’.
Yoran quit abruptly last Thursday to pursue opportunities in the private sector and spend time with his newborn children, according to reports. But the abruptness of his departure and the length of his tenure, just a year, raised some eyebrows.
Yoran, a former Symantec Corp executive, headed the national cyber security division of the DHS. During his time at the department, he created a security email alert system for Internet users, and consulted on government security projects.
A year ago, he had effectively replaced Howard Schmidt, now an active member of the technology private sector through roles at eBay and other firms, himself a successor of long-time White House security advisor Richard Clarke.
Ironically, Friday marked the beginning of what some security firms are calling national cyber security awareness month. Through October, the national cyber security alliance (NCSA) will pay for TV commercials advising consumers on securing their PCs.
NCSA, made up of representatives from Cisco, Symantec, RSA, AOL, Microsoft, McAfee and BellSouth, said it will also put out public service announcements aimed at schools, small businesses and children.
Security education is one of the pillars supporting a secure Internet as identified by the US government’s national strategy to secure cyberspace, which also gave the DHS’s NCSD some of its cues.