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Category Archives: PC Security

Information Security: Agencies Need to Improve Controls over Selected High-Impact Systems

Information Security: Agencies Need to Improve Controls over Selected High-Impact Systems, GAO-16-501: Published: May 18, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 2016. “In GAO’s survey of 24 federal agencies, the 18 agencies having high-impact systems identified cyber attacks from “nations” as the most serious and most frequently-occurring threat to the security of their systems. These agencies also noted that attacks delivered through e-mail were the most serious and frequent. During fiscal year 2014, 11 of the 18 agencies reported 2,267 incidents affecting their high-impact systems, with almost 500 of the incidents involving the installation of malicious code. Government entities have provided guidance and established initiatives and services to aid agencies in protecting their systems, including those categorized as high impact. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has prescribed federal standards for minimum security requirements and guidance on security and privacy controls for high-impact systems, including 83 controls specific to such systems. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is developing plans for shared services and practices for federal security operations centers but has not issued them yet. In addition, agencies reported that they are in the process of implementing various federal initiatives, such as tools to diagnose and mitigate intrusions on a continuous basis and stronger controls over access to agency networks. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had implemented numerous controls over the eight high-impact systems GAO reviewed. For example, all the agencies reviewed had developed a risk assessment for their selected high-risk systems. However, the four agencies had not always effectively implemented access controls. These control weaknesses included those protecting system boundaries, identifying and authenticating users, authorizing access needed to perform job duties, and auditing and monitoring system activities. Weaknesses also existed in patching known software vulnerabilities and planning for contingencies. An underlying reason for these weaknesses is that the agencies had not fully implemented key elements of their information security programs…”

A Few Easy Steps Everyone Should Take to Protect Their Digital Privacy

Via ACLU – “Much of the privacy protection we need in today’s world can’t happen without technological and legislative solutions, and the ACLU will continue leading the fight for digital security and privacy through our litigation and advocacy efforts. But there are simple steps that everyone can take to improve their digital privacy. While there… Continue Reading

Judicial Conference Committee seeks to implement wider law enforcement surveillance

Follow up to Supreme Court expands surveillance powers of intelligence agency via EFF – With Rule 41, Little-Known Committee Proposes to Grant New Hacking Powers to the Government – The government hacking into phones and seizing computers remotely? It’s not the plot of a dystopian blockbuster summer movie. It’s a proposal from an obscure committee… Continue Reading

Supreme Court expands surveillance powers of intelligence agency

Via The Intercept: “The Supreme Court on approved [April 28, 2016] changes that would make it easier for the FBI to hack into computers, including those belonging to victims of cybercrime. The changes will take effect in December, unless Congress adopts competing legislation. Previously, under the federal rules on criminal procedures, a magistrate judge couldn’t… Continue Reading

DoD tests public key infrastructure for DTIC secure website access

SecureIDNews:  “The federal government’s use of user IDs and passwords for access to its applications could soon give way to more secure PKI-based credentials if more government entities follow the lead of the U.S. Department of Defense. The Defense Department is leveraging PKI to better protect its information systems, with the intent of making access… Continue Reading

Reminder – no more IE support for versions prior to 11

Via Microsoft for Business – “What is end of support? Beginning January 12, 2016, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical supports and security updates. Internet Explorer 11 is the last version of Internet Explorer, and will continue to receive security updates, compatibility fixes, and… Continue Reading

Operationalizing Cybersecurity Due Diligence: A Transatlantic Comparative Case Study

Shackelford, Scott and Russell, Scott, Operationalizing Cybersecurity Due Diligence: A Transatlantic Comparative Case Study (January 12, 2016). South Carolina Law Review, 2016. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2714529 “Although much work has been done on applying the law of warfare to cyber attacks, far less attention has been paid to defining a law of cyber… Continue Reading

CRS – The Federal Cybersecurity Workforce

The Federal Cybersecurity Workforce: Background and Congressional Oversight Issues for the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Kathryn A. Francis, Analyst in Government Organization and Management; Wendy Ginsberg Analyst in American National Government. January 8, 2016. “The federal cybersecurity workforce is responsible for protecting U.S. government systems and networks against cyber threats and attacks. Federal… Continue Reading

Search Engine Backed by Internet-Wide Scanning

“Censys is a search engine that enables researchers to ask questions about the hosts and networks that compose the Internet. Censys collects data on hosts and websites through daily ZMap and ZGrab scans of the IPv4 address space, in turn maintaining a database of how hosts and websites are configured. Researchers can interact with this… Continue Reading

Google – An Empirical Analysis of Email Delivery Security

Neither Snow Nor Rain Nor MITM…An Empirical Analysis of Email Delivery Security “The SMTP protocol is responsible for carrying some of users’ most intimate communication, but like other Internet protocols, authentication and confidentiality were added only as an afterthought. In this work, we present the first report on global adoption rates of SMTP security extensions,… Continue Reading

Emerging Cyber Threats Report 2016 – Impact of The Internet of Things

Georgia Institute of Technology Cybersecurity Summit 2015– “The intersection of the physical and digital world continued to deepen in 2015. The adoption of network- connected devices and sensors — the Internet of Things — accelerated and was expected to reach nearly 5 billion devices by the end of the year. The collection and analysis of… Continue Reading

White House – Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan

Tony Scott – Federal CIO – Modernizing Federal Sybersecurity – [October 30, 2015] “the Administration directed a series of actions to continue strengthening Federal cybersecurity & modernizing the government’s technology infrastructure. Strengthening the cybersecurity of Federal networks, systems, and data is one of the most important challenges we face as a Nation. Every day, public… Continue Reading