DISA collapsing wired networks, expanding wireless, Coasties don’t want expensive TISCOM laptops and more

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NSAHere are the top cyber news and stories of the day.

  • Coasties don’t want expensive TISCOM laptops – According to a recent DHS audit, the Coast Guard is sitting on over 5,000 laptops in Coast Guard Telecommunications and Information Systems Command warehouses. These laptops, many of which are over 3 years old, cost units over $2,200 a piece, not to mention the $1,500 a year fee that comes bundled in. They are mostly on Windows Vista, and of “non-standard” chassis. These are laptops that cost the government a great deal of money, and nobody wants them. Via FierceGovernmentIT, more here.
  • Tech hiring binge may pose security risks for government – “Among the more curious revelations to emerge from the recent National Security Agency leak saga is how a 29-year-old high school dropout landed a $122,000 job in a sensitive government program.” This quote speaks to something that I wondered myself. And may be a sign of things to come – we may see current employees (and others holding clearances) undergoing further screening. Whatever the solution, this will certainly emphasize further the reliance our military has on cleared private contractors. Via USA Today, more here.
  • Cyber Commander Calls for Consolidated Activities – ‘The United States must “normalize” cyberspace operations if it is to protect and defend cyber assets, including the critical infrastructure, according to the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command [General Alexander].” General Alexander believes they need to obtain a more clear and full common operating picture of the cyber domain. This requires more information sharing and stronger ties between agencies. Via AFCEA, more here.
  • DISA collapsing wired networks, expanding wireless – “The Defense Information Systems Agency is trimming its herd of unclassified networks. But in some ways it’s trading several wired networks for one that is wireless.” Dave Bennett, DISA’s CIO, is looking to combine multiple DISA networks into one enterprise-wide network with a consistent security paradigm. It will be interesting to see how this pans out, because it could become the Via Federal News Radio, more here.
  • VanRoekel: ‘Billions of dollars waiting for us’ – ‘”There are billions of dollars waiting for us,” U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel said of the efficiencies available to federal departments and agencies through efficiency efforts currently being undertaken by the White House.’ The OMB is currently spearheading numerous programs aimed at recouping funds to use as capital investment in IT. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of these efforts. Via FedScoop, more here.
  • iPhones can auto-connect to rogue Wi-Fi networks, researchers warn – “The weakness is contained in configuration settings installed by AT&T, Vodafone, and more than a dozen other carriers that give the phones voice and Internet services, according to a blog post published Wednesday.” AT&T phones, for instance, automatically connect to networks with certain names. It is possible to setup your own WiFi networks with the same names and pull data from phones as they pass through. Via Ars Technica, more here.
  • Inside NSA’s data protection, cloud strategy – “After recent leaks exposed the more clandestine side of the National Security Agency, the agency’s chief technology officer remained committed to open source, cloud-based software as the best way to consolidate NSA’s servers, save money and protect its systems from cyberthreats.” Currently, the NSA is using smart data, data tagging and PKI to better operate in today’s environment. NSA has broken their cloud into three parts, the data cloud, the storage and the utility cloud which is a platform for applications. Via FedScoop, more here.
  • DHS finds classified cyber sharing program slow to take off – “The Enhanced Cybersecurity Services initiative is supposed to expand the number of companies that receive classified or top secret information from the government about real or potential threats. While many companies are interested, few have decided to make the investment.” There are huge upgrades needed to facilities and employees to get access to this program, a fact which is a stumbling block for many. The voluntary program offers one-way sharing of cybersecurity indicators from government to corporations. Success with this program may lead to further public/private partnerships in cyber. Via Federal News Radio, more here.
  • Alexander: Mass surveillance has thwarted ‘dozens’ of terrorist attacks – General Alexander of the NSA and CYBERCOM, stated to congress that “dozens of events” have been prevented due to the PRISM collection capabilities. While certainly more investigation into these projects is necessary, reports such as these have to assuage some trouble minds. Via FierceGovernmentIT, more here.

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