J. Michael Daniel, Obama’s cybersecurity czar, to head industry nonprofit

Michael Daniel at an event in February 2016, when he was a special assistant to the president. (New America / Flickr)


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J. Michael Daniel, the career federal official who served as White House cybersecurity coordinator under President Barack Obama, will helm a nonprofit alliance founded by cybersecurity giants to better share information about cybercrime and other threats.

The Cyber Threat Alliance announced the appointment in a press release Tuesday. The group also announced that it was incorporating as a nonprofit corporation with Daniel as president and a board of directors comprised of its six founding companies, Check Point, Cisco, Fortinet, Intel Security, Palo Alto Networks and Symantec.

“I am very excited to have this opportunity,” Daniel told CyberScoop via email. “I think CTA has the potential to really move the needle on improving our defenses.”

He said the group’s top priority was “to facilitate a higher degree of automated information sharing between cybersecurity firms that will enable better defense against all malicious actors.”

Daniel, a 17-year career veteran of the Office of Management and Budget, stepped into the politically appointed White House post in 2012, succeeding Howard Schmidt. In the job, he coordinated the development of national and international cybersecurity strategy and policy for the U.S. government. He left Jan. 20, along with a slew of other senior cybersecurity officials across the government.

In its announcement, the alliance outlined its aims and objectives:  “to share threat information in order to improve defenses against cyber adversaries across member organizations and protect customers; to advance the cybersecurity of critical IT infrastructures; and to increase the security, availability, integrity and efficiency of information systems.”

The alliance, first founded in 2014, said it’s first project in its new format was the development of an automated threat intelligence-sharing platform.

In addition to adding Check Point and Cisco as founding members, the alliance announced three new affiliate members: IntSights, Rapid7 and RSA. They join existing affiliates Eleven Paths and ReversingLabs.

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Michael Daniel