By Elinor Mills
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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