White House names first cybersecurity chief, underscoring new priority

President Obama announced Friday that he has appointed the first chief information security officer (CISO) of the federal government, part of a continued effort to bolster cybersecurity during the latter years of his administration.

Gregory Touhill, who is currently the Department of Homeland Security’s deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, has accepted the job to protect federal infrastructure and data from hacks and analyze potential security risks – a position that serves to underscore how much cybersecurity issues have become a top White House priority.

“In the past there has been the federal cyber security ‘czar’ who reported directly to the White House, but that position was all about outward-facing policy and talking about cyber security,” John Pescatore, the director of emerging security trends at the SANS Institute, a cybersecurity company, tells The Christian Science Monitor. “What the federal government has lacked was an inward-facing chief security officer whose goal is to make the federal government more secure, versus to talk about cyber security in general or to weigh in on policy matters.” READ MORE.