Microsoft Corp. on Thursday named Scott Charney, a former security and cybercrime specialist with PricewaterhouseCoopers, as its new chief security strategist.
Charney replaces Howard Schmidt, who is leaving to become vice chairman of the National Critical Infrastructure Protection Board.
Charney will have no shortage of things to keep him occupied when he starts work at Microsoft on April 1.
He joins Microsoft at a time when the Redmond, Wash., software maker is placing an increased emphasis on security, an area that long has been a sore spot for the company. Bill Gates, Microsofts chairman and chief software architect, recently sent a memo to all of the companys employees exhorting them to make security the focus of everything they do.
The companys products have been beset by serious security vulnerabilities over the past two years, and security experts often criticize Microsoft for not taking security more seriously. In the past, the company has made usability and functionality its top priorities when developing new products, but Gates memo and a spate of high-profile flaws in their products have shifted the focus to security.
As head of Microsofts security efforts, Charney ultimately will be responsible for repairing the companys damaged reputation in this area and ensuring that future products meet the requirements Gates spelled out in his memo.
"As one of the industrys top computer security experts, Scott has wide-ranging experience in cybercrime and computer forensics, which will make him an essential member of Microsofts Trustworthy Computing leadership team," said Craig Mundie, chief technical officer at Microsoft. "Scott takes a long-term, industrywide perspective on security strategy and understands the critical challenge of building safe and secure software and services for our customers and the industry."
Charney has been at PwC since 1999 and currently serves as head of the Cybercrime Prevention and Response practice. Previously, he was the chief of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section at the Department of Justice.