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Howard Schmidt has been one of the pivotal forces in making cyberspace a safer place for commerce, leisure, and government. He is the partner and cofounder of Ridge Schmidt Cyber, an executive services firm that helps leaders in business and government navigate the increasing demands of cyber security.

Schmidt’s extensive defense career has spanned over 40 years starting with his service in the United States Air Force. He has been a police officer, SWAT team member, and FBI agent. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks President George Bush hired him as the vice chair of the President’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board and as one of the first ever special advisors for cyberspace security for the White House a few months later. He continued his service under President Obama until 2012, coordinating interagency cyber security policy development and implementation as well as coordinating engagement with federal, state, local, international, and private sector cyber security partners.

Currently Schmidt also serves as executive director of The Software Assurance Forum for Excellence in Code (SAFECode) and is a sought-out speaker in the realm of cyber security due to his vast experience and achievements in the field.

Full Profile

As cyber security coordinator under President Barack Obama, Howard Schmidt shares with audiences his unparalleled insights on U.S. intelligence, defense and cyber security strategies and challenges of the 21st century. Named one of the 50 most influential people in business IT by Baseline magazine, Schmidt led significant policy advances including the development of “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace,” which enables private industry to create reliable electronic identities for authentication purposes.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Schmidt served as president and CEO of Information Security Forum, vice president, chief information security officer and chief security strategist for eBay Inc. and chief security officer for Microsoft Corp. He also served as chief security strategist for the US-CERT Partners Program for the Department of Homeland Security and as cyber adviser for President George W. Bush (2001-2003). Schmidt has testified before Congress on computer security and cyber crime issues and frequently appears on BBC, ABC, CNN, CNBC and FOX News for his sought-after insights on cyber security, investigations and technology. Schmidt is the executive director of SAFECode and the author of Patrolling Cyberspace: Lessons Learned from a Lifetime in Data Security and co-author of The Black Book on Corporate Security.


Howard Schmidt Speaker Videos Back to top

Cyber & Space Symposium


“Whether we’re using a smart phone, we’re using a desk top, we’re using a server, we’re using something that comes off and bounces off a satellite...We fully recognize that all these systems depend on digital systems and it’s vitally important that we more so than ever in the past have a plan, have a strategy as well as the ability to execute on how we protect those systems.”

Howard Schmidt speaks on the U.S. Department of Defense’s indispensable role to protect the infinitely growing world of cyberspace and the importance of finding balance between a digital world that’s secure enough to be trusted but open enough to continue stimulating innovation.

He admits that achieving 100% security in a sector that changes so drastically overnight is impossible, but that the government collectively has the capability to overcome the problems that will inevitably surface in the digital world, anticipate and protect against them, and minimize the damage if they do occur.

State of the Net Keynote


Howard Schmidt surveys the evolution of cyber security services recalling the early days of the movement to monetize research and protective systems based on the discoveries of vulnerabilities in software. Schmidt, who was part of Microsoft at the time, comments on how companies initially rejected the idea of paying for such information.

“You develop a chunk of software, you’re trying to develop it tight, you’re trying to develop it small, to do all sorts of things, and oftentimes security is not the part you’re worried about,” he admits.

Since companies responded in disinterest to the purchase of their own software weaknesses, an underground market has developed in which computing vulnerabilities are auctioned often to various nation states that stockpile them.

Wrestling with the ethics of this, Schmidt offers the following solution. “You just start creating firmware, hardware, software, embedded devices that have less vulnerabilities.”

RSA Conference


Education in Cybersecurity


Keynote Speech



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


From Risk to Resilience: The Global Mission to Secure Cyberspace

Organizations of all types today face a daily and growing assault from nation states, lone actors and organized crime. The assailants target everything from trade secrets to proprietary information to reputation damage to critical infrastructure and financial systems. The effects are as far-reaching, disruptive and consequential as physical attacks, and can make or break organizations that are not sufficiently prepared. How can an organization embed cyber security into its suite of core business functions? How can we better protect our globally interdependent systems? What are the rules of engagement for world leaders, and what are the consequences for their foes? In this presentation, one of the world’s most notable security experts, Howard Schmidt, former White House cyber security coordinator for President Barack Obama and cyber adviser for President George W. Bush, brings the priorities of cyber security into perspective as only an internationally respected leader can. The evolution of cyber security strategy and diplomacy, what to expect from the next generation of cyber attacks and how to navigate it all mark this compelling, insightful presentation of a growing and global 21st century threat.





* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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Patrolling

Patrolling Cyberspace: Lessons Learned from a Lifetime in Data Security

Cybercrime isn’t some new phenomenon. Just ask Howard A. Schmidt, who’s led the war against high-tech crooks for more than three decades. In this fascinating and eminently readable book, he recounts his storied career, from the earliest days of hacking through the formative years of computer forensics up to today’s fight for homeland security. Patrolling Cyberspace is laced with case studies, amusing anecdotes, and cutting-edge security methods worthy of emulation, making it both an engaging memoir and a how-to guide packed with practical advice.


From Risk to Resilience: The Global Mission to Secure Cyberspace

Organizations of all types today face a daily and growing assault from nation states, lone actors and organized crime. The assailants target everything from trade secrets to proprietary information to reputation damage to critical infrastructure and financial systems. The effects are as far-reaching, disruptive and consequential as physical attacks, and can make or break organizations that are not sufficiently prepared. How can an organization embed cyber security into its suite of core business functions? How can we better protect our globally interdependent systems? What are the rules of engagement for world leaders, and what are the consequences for their foes? In this presentation, one of the world’s most notable security experts, Howard Schmidt, former White House cyber security coordinator for President Barack Obama and cyber adviser for President George W. Bush, brings the priorities of cyber security into perspective as only an internationally respected leader can. The evolution of cyber security strategy and diplomacy, what to expect from the next generation of cyber attacks and how to navigate it all mark this compelling, insightful presentation of a growing and global 21st century threat.



Cyber & Space Symposium


“Whether we’re using a smart phone, we’re using a desk top, we’re using a server, we’re using something that comes off and bounces off a satellite...We fully recognize that all these systems depend on digital systems and it’s vitally important that we more so than ever in the past have a plan, have a strategy as well as the ability to execute on how we protect those systems.”

Howard Schmidt speaks on the U.S. Department of Defense’s indispensable role to protect the infinitely growing world of cyberspace and the importance of finding balance between a digital world that’s secure enough to be trusted but open enough to continue stimulating innovation.

He admits that achieving 100% security in a sector that changes so drastically overnight is impossible, but that the government collectively has the capability to overcome the problems that will inevitably surface in the digital world, anticipate and protect against them, and minimize the damage if they do occur.

State of the Net Keynote


Howard Schmidt surveys the evolution of cyber security services recalling the early days of the movement to monetize research and protective systems based on the discoveries of vulnerabilities in software. Schmidt, who was part of Microsoft at the time, comments on how companies initially rejected the idea of paying for such information.

“You develop a chunk of software, you’re trying to develop it tight, you’re trying to develop it small, to do all sorts of things, and oftentimes security is not the part you’re worried about,” he admits.

Since companies responded in disinterest to the purchase of their own software weaknesses, an underground market has developed in which computing vulnerabilities are auctioned often to various nation states that stockpile them.

Wrestling with the ethics of this, Schmidt offers the following solution. “You just start creating firmware, hardware, software, embedded devices that have less vulnerabilities.”

RSA Conference


Education in Cybersecurity


Keynote Speech