May 2, 2003 7:59 AM PDT

Former U.S. security czar to join eBay

The nation's former cybersecurity czar will help safeguard eBay's electronic infrastructure, the online auctioneer confirmed on Friday.

Shortly after resigning as the White House's cybersecurity adviser, Howard Schmidt is set to join eBay as its vice president for security.

Schmidt will start at the auctioneer in the next few weeks, eBay spokesman Chris Donlay confirmed Friday. Donlay said he couldn't give details on exactly what Schmidt's role would entail, but said the executive would be "very involved in that area (cybersecurity) and other departments that touch on that area--IT, trust and safety, and legal."

The San Jose, Calif., company's move to recruit a high-profile security specialist comes as deceptive Internet practices have become a pressing concern, with online-auction fraud ranking as the most common type of Internet-related complaint tracked by the Federal Trade Commission. For eBay, which is aggressively pushing into higher-value auctions, squashing any perception of weak security is paramount.

Schmidt brings to eBay experience that seems a natural fit for the auctioneer's needs. He had served as Microsoft's chief security strategist for many years before becoming vice chairman of the federal Critical Infrastructure Protection Board in 2001. He also served as deputy to former White House cybersecurity chief Richard Clarke and helped draft the government's cybersecurity plan, unveiled in February. He succeeded Clarke who resigned in February to enter the private sector.

The White House recently shifted its electronic security efforts to the Department of Homeland Security.

Schmidt has also worked in the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, where he helped establish a computer forensics lab. Prior to that stint, he was with the FBI's National Drug Intelligence Center, where he headed the Computer Exploitation Team.

During an interview Thursday on CNN, Schmidt mentioned that he would join eBay, according to the cable news service.

CNET News.com's Margaret Kane contributed to this report.

 

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