Obama administration to inherit tough cybersecurity challenges
There has been a 'fundamental ignorance' by the Bush administration on modern threats, says one expert
Computerworld - As President Bush prepares to leave office, the task of upgrading the security of federal information systems to deal with new cyberthreats continues to be very much a work in progress.
Several key federal cybersecurity initiatives launched during the Bush administration — some in direct response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — are still years away. A few other initiatives are closer to completion but still don't do enough to protect federal networks and systems against increasingly sophisticated attacks from cybercriminals and nation states.
Fixing the situation will require the next administration to focus not just on completing the initiatives that are already under way, say security industry representatives. It also means increasing attention to issues such as collaboration between the public and private sectors, as well as a greater willingness to use the government's buying power to force change among vendors and service providers.
Crucial, too, is the need for the Obama administration to stop tying federal cybersecurity responses so closely to the broader post-Sept. 11 war against terror, said John Pescatore, an analyst at Gartner Inc. "The terrorist attacks of 2001 sent the Bush administration in the wrong direction" on the cybersecurity front, Pescatore said. There's been too much of tendency to view cyberthreats in the same light as physical terrorism threats and to respond to them in the same manner. In the process, some of the more immediate threats to government data and networks have been somewhat overlooked, he said
Despite some of the challenges, progress has been made, says Karen Evans, who serves as federal CIO in her role as administrator of e-government and IT at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). She said there are several initiatives that have been launched over the past few years that are already making, or will soon make, a difference.
Top on Evans' list is Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12) of August 2004, under which federal agencies are required to issue new smart card identity credentials to all employees and contractors.
Work in progressAgencies were supposed to have completed issuing the so-called personal identity verification cards by the end of last month, but most are nowhere close to that goal and will require at least two more years to fully implement the mandate.
The initiative, a response to the Sept. 11 attacks, will result in much better identification and authentication of all individuals with access to federal systems and buildings, Evans said. It will also enable better security otherwise — such as providing a second form of authentication — for online services and teleworking, she said.
Obama and tech
- Obama's choice for DHS could flame tech visa battle
- Verizon employees accessed Obama's mobile record
- Obama administration to inherit tough cybersecurity challenges
- Dan Tynan: Obama's CTO -- Just do what, exactly?
- Thousands flock to site collecting ideas for Obama's CTO
- Analysis: With Obama win, Google emerges as a D.C. player
- Dan Tynan: The 21st Century President
- My.BarackObama.com social network stays online after election
- Google-enabled government starts with Obama's CTO
- Using Cyber Insurance and Cybercrime Data to Limit Your Business Risk This paper examines the challenges of understanding cyber risks, the importance of having the right cyber risk intelligence, and how to use this...
- 5 Tips to Secure Small Business Backdoors in the Enterprise Supply Chain This paper examines the insecurity of the small businesses in the supply chain and offers tips to close those backdoors into the enterprise.
- Comprehensive Advanced Threat Defense The hot topic in the information security industry these days is "Advanced Threat Defense" (ATD). This paper describes a comprehensive, network-based approach to...
- Advanced Threat Defense: A Comprehensive Approach In this interview, Peter George, president, General Dynamics Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions, explains why we need more than anti-malware, and what constitutes a comprehensive...
- Live Webcast Security Vulnerabilities Associated With Having Local Administrator Privileges Viewfinity will demonstrate how removing admin rights and granularly managing privileges at the application level reduces the attack surface.
- Security Vulnerabilities Associated With Having Local Administrator Privileges Viewfinity will demonstrate how removing admin rights and granularly managing privileges at the application level reduces the attack surface.
- NSS Labs & Cisco Present: Evaluating Leading Breach Detection Systems Today's constantly evolving advanced malware and APTs can evade point-in-time defenses to penetrate networks. Security professionals must evolve their strategy in lockstep to... All Cybercrime and Hacking White Papers | Webcasts