Posts Tagged ‘Department of Homeland Security’

Cyber Defense Agency Faces Challenges From Within

Published by pratyushkp on July 30th, 2011 - in Social, Technology

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Last year, the nation’s computer systems reported more than 100,000 cyber threats, or one every five minutes. The job of analyzing and preventing them was assigned to a government agency that has faced repeated criticism for lacking enough resources and authority, as well as a consistent leader, to help it accomplish an increasingly daunting task.

That agency, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, faced more turnover at the top last Friday when Randy Vickers abruptly resigned. His replacement, Lee Rock, is the agency’s fifth director in the past six years.

The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the agency, said Vickers resigned for personal reasons. But former directors and outside experts say the job of leading the agency has become overwhelming as the threats of cyber attacks continue to mount.

“Imagine being a firefighter in West Texas where there’s no fire code and the entire state is filled with arsonists,” said Tom Kellermann, chief technology officer of the security firm AirPatrol Corp. “Would you keep the job for long?”

Social Media Security Measures Lacking Among Federal Agencies

Published by pratyushkp on July 29th, 2011 - in Social, Technology

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Less than one third of federal agencies using social media have created safeguards against hackers looking to exploit their accounts to launch cyber attacks against government networks, according to a report released Thursday.

The report by the Government Accountability Office found that nearly all — 23 of 24 — major federal agencies are now using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to provide information about agency activities and interact with the public. But just seven agencies have identified and documented security risks and taken measures to prevent hackers from using those sites to gain access to federal information systems, the report found.

The study found some agencies had taken security measures for social media. For example, the report found the Department of Health and Human Services blocks the use of social media sites by employees except for those using them for business needs. But the State Department told GAO investigators they had no plans to assess the agency’s social media security because its internal policies did not require it.

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