WASHINGTON ( TheStreet -- The departure of President Obama's acting cyber-security czar earlier this week has prompted a flurry of speculation and rumor about who will replace the outgoing Melissa Hathaway. Hathaway's departure shocked many in the tech sector, for the former Bush administration official was seen as a top candidate for the job. Earlier this year, for example, Hathaway completed a 60-day cyber review for the White House, which formed the basis of Obama's cyber-security master plan. In a interview with The Washington Post Hathaway suggested that she was frustrated with the pace of Obama's cyber-strategy. "I wasn't willing to continue to wait any longer, because I'm not empowered right now to continue to drive the change," she said. The president now faces the challenge of finding someone capable of leading his ambitious cyber-security strategy. This includes forging closer ties between the federal government and the private sector, and responding more effectively to cyber attacks. Inevitably, experts with links to some of tech's biggest names are being touted as possible czars. Security executives at Microsoft ( MSFT ) and Sun Microsystems ( JAVA), for example, have been considered for the role, according to Reuters. Forbes, however, recently reported that Scott Charney, who heads Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing division, had turned the position down, along with former Virginia senator Tom Davis, now director of Deloitte's Federal Government Services, and Paul Kurtz, an executive at Good Harbor Consulting. Microsoft, Deloitte, and Good Harbor Consulting have not yet responded to TheStreet.com's request for comment. Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington in June, Davis said that he wouldn't take the role of cyber-security czar, according to media reports.
Earlier this week The Wall Street Journal reported that former Clinton defense secretary Franklin Kramer and Howard Schmidt, formerly a security guru at eBay ( EBAY - Get Report), had emerged as front-runners for the position of cyber-security czar. Neither R&H Security Consulting, where Schmidt now works, nor Liquidity Services Inc. (LSI) ( LQDT - Get Report), where Kramer is a director, have yet responded to a request for comment from TheStreet. At least one analyst, however, feels that Hathaway's departure is no more than a "modest setback" for Obama's cyber-security strategy. "While we view the resignation of Ms. Hathaway in itself as a bit of a surprise as she was talked about as a full-time cyber czar candidate, we believe it is a potential positive in terms of accelerating the appointment of a permanent cyber-czar," wrote Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets, in a note released Tuesday. "Although most government initiatives take much time to get approved and allocated, we believe a major increase in cyber-security spending will start to manifest in 2010." Cyber-security, of course, has also been in the media spotlight recently thanks to the denial-of-service attack that recently hammered Web sites in the U.S. and South Korea. --Written by James Rogers in New York