White House Appoints Former eBay and Microsoft Exec as Cybersecurity Coordinator

The White House has announced that former Google and Microsoft executive Howard A. Schmidt will become the U.S. government’s cybersecurity coordinator, responsible for leading the effort to lock down U.S. government computer networks and information systems, and coordinate security and privacy issues with the private companies that operate and maintain the vast majority of those systems.

Howard Schmidt and President Obama, Dec 2009

“Howard is one of the world’s leading authorities on computer security, with some 40 years of experience in government, business, and law enforcement,” wrote John Brennan, assistant to President Obama for homeland security and counter-terrorism, in a letter. “Howard will have regular access to the President and serve as a key member of his National Security Staff. He will also work closely with his economic team to ensure that our cybersecurity efforts keep the Nation secure and prosperous.”

Schmidt is currently president and CEO of Information Security Forum, a nonprofit information security research group. Previously, Schmidt served as chief security officer for Microsoft, and before that acted as eBay’s chief of cybersecurity. Schmidt has a deep background in computer forensics, and also has significant local and federal government experience: Schmidt also served in President George W. BUsh’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, and has worked for both the FBI and the National Drug Intelligence Center.

Schmidt’s appointment follows a drawn-out selection process that saw much bickering over potential appointees…and even had people turn down the post. Computer and policy experts have expressed frustration with the White House that the position remained unfilled many months after a cybersecurity review highlighted that attacks and probes on U.S. government and infrastructure computer systems happen millions of times a day. Still other policy makers have been dubious of the new position, noting that it lacks policy-making and budgetary authority.

The White House says Schmidt will have direct access to the president on cybersecurity matters, and will report to the National Security Council and work with the National Economic Council on cybersecurity issues.

Product Review

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2 launched last year, but already feels old

Released in fall of 2018, the Surface Laptop 2 was competitive at the time but now must deal with new competitors that were announced at CES 2019. How does the popular Surface Laptop 2 hold up six months later?
Computing

Is Threadripper dead? If so, AMD has made a huge mistake

Think Threadripper is dead? Think again. AMD's flagship CPU line might not be on this year's roadmap, but it's not dead and could well bring some amazing new enhancements when it returns.
Social Media

6 easy ways to archive all of your favorite Instagram videos

Saving Instagram videos should be just as easy as taking a screenshot. So, we've put together a list of the best apps and tools that save your favorite Instagram videos onto your phone or computer.
Computing

Cybercrime gang that stole $100M busted in international effort

A major cybercrime gang that used powerful malware to steal an estimated $100 million from bank accounts has been dismantled following an international effort that spanned six countries.
Computing

G-Sync is a game-changer. These are the best monitors with Nvidia's display tech

Looking for a monitor that plays well with Nvidia GPUs? You need G-Sync and we have picked the best G-Sync monitors available. Take a look and find out which monitor works best for your PC upgrade.
Computing

Microsoft is discounting this Surface Laptop 2 by a sweet $300

Microsoft is offering a nearly 14-inch Surface Laptop 2 with 256GB of storage at a $300 discount until May 18, 2019. The laptop comes with a PixelSense display, and Intel Core i5 processor and a 720p HD camera.
Product Review

Looking for discrete graphics on the cheap? The Acer Swift 3 will do the trick

The Acer Swift 3 is a tweener laptop that’s not quite budget and not quite premium – and it feels and performs accordingly. It manages to hold its own, though, thanks to its discrete GPU.
Computing

The Razer Core X Chroma is the best external GPU you can buy

The third entry in Razer's lineup of external graphics card enclosures, the Core X Chroma, brings together the best of its previous options in a single package. With RGB lighting and extra USB ports, is this the best you can buy?
Computing

Google recalls Titan Security Key due to hijack risk

Google is offering a free replacement for the Bluetooth Low Energy version of the Titan Security Key. A misconfiguration was discovered in the device, though hackers looking to exploit the vulnerability will find it difficult to do so.
Computing

Whether you want to edit, sign, or append, PDFs, these are the best PDF editors

While there are plenty of PDF editor options online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.
Computing

Give your PC a new lease on life by upgrading its core components

Older PCs can still be great tools for work and play, they just need a little upgrade now and then. Here are the best upgrades you can make to your PC to make it feel fresh and fast once again.
Computing

The best software for filing your taxes — because you can never be too early

The best tax software offers a variety of services for saving money, completing your taxes at top speed, or getting advice for more complex tax scenarios that you haven't had to deal with before.
Computing

Through the wire, to the limit, to the wall: The 5 best ethernet cables

While our world may be transitioning to wireless connectivity, Ethernet connections are still faster and less prone to lag times than traditional Wi-Fi networks. Here are five of the best Ethernet cables you can buy.
Computing

Your amazing PC rig needs an amazing computer case. These are the very best

There's an incredible variety of PC cases on the market, but a few stand above the rest. Any of our five best computer cases will make your desktop look and work great, no matter what your budget is.