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Washington, D.C. – The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) was saddened to hear of the passing of Howard Schmidt. Howard was one of the original pioneers and leaders of cybersecurity. He was an early supporter of NCSA and a cyber evangelist and visionary when the field was beginning to emerge.
For those who don’t know Howard, he held many influential positions in government and industry. In government, he served two presidents. Most recently, from 2009 to 2012 he was President Obama’s cybersecurity coordinator. Under President Bush he served as the vice chair of the president’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board and the special advisor for cyberspace security for the White House. After retiring in 2012, Mr. Schmidt was a partner with Tom Ridge in Ridge Schmidt Cyber LLC, a consultancy company in the field of cybersecurity. He also held positions at Microsoft and eBay, among many others.
At NCSA, we first came to know Howard in his capacity at the White House. He was instrumental in the effort to get the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ campaign recognized by President Obama as the national cybersecurity education and awareness message during the 2010 launch of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. He advocated strongly for the adoption of National Cyber Security Awareness Month outside the United States, and now it is recognized throughout the European Union because of his efforts.
“Howard was a visionary leader in cybersecurity,” said NCSA executive director Michael Kaiser. “We could always count him to be a champion of our education and awareness efforts, and he truly valued the need to help everyone use the internet safely and more securely. Howard brought the cybersecurity community together in new ways to solve shared problems, and he served as a role model for many of us in the space. He will be missed.”
Howard Schmidt was a friend and mentor to many in the early days of cybersecurity; he was a rare public servant who made a difference and shaped an entire field through his passionate, no-nonsense approach. You can learn more about Howard in these pieces by Dark Reading and Infosecurity Magazine.