White House Cybersecurity Head Proud He's Clueless

White House Cybersecurity Head Proud He's Clueless

White House cybersecurity coordinator -- the highest such position in the nation, appointed by and reporting to President Obama -- Michael Daniel, not only admits he knows absolutely nothing about his job, he thinks it's an advantage.

You don't have to be a coder to really do well in this position. In fact, actually, I think being too down in the weeds at the technical level could actually be a little bit of a distraction.

Instead, Mr. Daniel will be focusing on the larger picture.

[A]t a very fundamental level, cybersecurity isn't just about the technology but it's also about the economics of cybersecurity. [...] It's about the psychology of cybersecurity. You know, one of my sayings is that 'expediency trumps cybersecurity every time' meaning that people will prioritize convenience over being secure many times. So you need to have the understanding of those kinds of factors [...] in addition to the technology.

That's great. So does Mr. Daniel understand the economics or psychology of cybersecurity?

[W]e don't actually truly understand the economics and psychology behind cybersecurity. We know that a huge number of intrusions rely on known fixable vulnerabilities... We know that intruders get in through those holes that we know about that we could fix. The question is, 'Why don't we do that?' That clearly leads me to the conclusion that we really don't understand all of those economics and psychology well enough.

This is the guy who is directly advising the President on all things cybersecurity. He doesn't have technical expertise, but that's OK because he's focusing on the big picture, which he admits he doesn't understand.