Q&A: Defcon's Jeff Moss on cybersecurity, government's role

Q&A: Defcon's Jeff Moss on cybersecurity, government's role
Q&A: Defcon's Jeff Moss on cybersecurity, government's role 

By Elinor Mills
InSecurity Complex
CNet News
October 16, 2009

As a hacker and organizer of Defcon, at event at which computer security 
vulnerabilities and exploits are routinely unveiled, Jeff Moss seemed an 
unusual choice when he was named to the Homeland Security Advisory 
Council in June.

But his background and lack of government experience brings a fresh, 
outsider's perspective to a public sector plagued by a fast-changing 
threat landscape, perpetual turf wars, and bureaucratic inertia.

With National Cyber Security Awareness Month under way, CNET News 
discussed with Moss his new role, his thoughts on the national ID card 
debate, and how the government wants to use social media sites for 
public emergency alerts. This edited interview is the first of two 
parts. Part two will run on Monday.

Q: So, how's it going on the Homeland Security Advisory Council?

Moss: It's going pretty well, it's pretty exciting actually. Recently we 
did a recommendation, I'm sure you read about it, the homeland security 
color codes. There are the five color codes. Normally the country is on 
like yellow or orange. I think we've only been to red once. But we've 
never been to the two lowest, blue and green. So the system was up for 
review. It turns out that the color codes work really well for industry 
and government. They have procedures in place. They do things 
automatically when the color codes are changed. It is actually 
successful for them but for the third group that uses them, civilians, 
it actually doesn't work well at all.


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