White House Names Yoran as Cybersecurity Chief

Amit Yoran, the founder of an Internet government security firm and a current vice president at Symantec, has been named by the Bush administration to head the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) cybersecurity division.

In his new role, Yoran will be responsible for implementing the administration’s National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, a report issued by the White House in February that depends more on private industry cooperation than government mandates and regulations.

Shortly after the administration issued its report, it dismantled a special cyber security board that reported directly to the White House, transferring its duties and responsibilities to the DHS. The White House’s director of the board, Richard Clarke, refused to head the new organization created at the DHS, saying there would be too many bureaucratic layers between him and DHS Secretary Tom Ridge.

Clarke, who spent 30 years in government working for three presidents and is widely regarded as one of the nation’s top counter-terrorism experts, now works for ABC news and is a consultant to several private security vendors. Howard Schmidt, Clarke’s deputy on the White House Board, resigned in May to become to the chief information security officer for eBay.

Yoran is the co-founder of Riptech, an Alexandria, Va.-based firm that focused on government cybersecurity. In July of last year, Symantec bought Riptech for $145 million and Yoran stayed on as vice president for managed security services.

Before joining Riptech, Yoran was director of the vulnerability assessement program for the Defense Department’s computer emergency response team. He has an undergraduate degree in computer science from West Point and a graduate degree in computer security from George Washington University.

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