Feds Look to Partner With States on Cybersecurity, What keeps federal CIOs up at night and more


usps-logoHere are the top cyber news and stories of the day.

  • USAID releases open data tools to increase government openness – “The U.S. Agency for International Development announced April 29 the launch of a plethora of new datasets and tools to increase transparency.” “At the conference, USAID announced the launch of usaid.gov/developer — its application program interface for the Greenbook dataset, the results from two baseline, household, Feed the Future surveys, and three USAID projects affecting food-insecure countries.” These datasets and tools will open up big data for developers to create added value. Via FedScoop, more here.
  • Feds Look to Partner With States on Cybersecurity – “Andy Ozment, senior director for cybersecurity at the White House, embraced states as key partners in efforts to secure the nation’s assets.” The recent cyber executive order has the DHS sharing key cyber intelligence with state and local agencies to bolster cyber defenses. As well, they have orders to expedite clearances for personnel. Via Pew States, more here.
  • USPS has data-related issues, say auditors – An USPS OIG audit revealed numerous data issues in the agency from 2009-2012. The USPS is lacking in a cohesive data strategy, has vast numbers of inconsistent data, and has been warehousing that said data. As well, their data sharing and access programs are troublesome, as well as data security as a whole. Via FierceGovernmentIT, more here.
  • What keeps federal CIOs up at night? – “Federal chief information officers are seeking more authority over department budgets, worrying about the continued overspending on operations and maintenance, and questioning their ability to maintain a high-quality workforce in a time of pay freezes and budget cuts, according to a survey released May 2.” Our CIOs are struggling under constraints that are out of their control. They can’t always control spending, nor hiring, and need more control if they are to be held responsible for mission attainment and security of networks. Via FCW, more here.
  • U.S. Department of Labor website infected with malware – “ A subdomain of a U.S. Department of Labor website appeared offline on Wednesday after an apparent hack that looks similar to a known China-based hacking campaign nicknamed DeepPanda.” Hackers sent users who visited the infected page to other infected sites which attempted to exploit a vulnerability in older versions of IE. Security vendors AlienVault and Invincea claim it has been fixed. Via IT World, more here.
  • Army recognized for innovation – “The U.S. Army has been named one of the world’s most innovative research organizations by Thomson Reuters, joining companies such as Apple, DuPont and General Electric on the 2012 Top100 Global Innovators list.” This is a huge win for the Army, because they have often been minimized as copycats. The Army won this award for over 300 patents in just three years. Via FedScoop, more here.
  • Mobile AV Apps Fail To Detect Disguised Malware – Northwestern University and NC State researchers created their own malware obfuscation/transformation tool which takes common malware and transforms it to test the mettle of signature based antivirus programs. Their antivirus programs failed 45% of the time. This is additional evidence against signature based detection (instead of behavior based detection). Via Dark Reading, more here.
  • Hacker Breached U.S. Army Database Containing Sensitive Information on Dams – “A hacker compromised a U.S. Army database that holds sensitive information about vulnerabilities in U.S. dams, according to a news report.” This database is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, and can be accessed by employees. It can also be queried by those without access, but no information can be downloaded. The public facing portal is likely the vector for the attack. Via Wired, more here.
  • Feds pick lowest-price contracts over best value – ‘”The push the past 20 years has been to find that best value,” Kang said, “but we’re seeing a shift in recent years to push procurements in another directions where the government is trying to simply get the lowest price for a certain technology.”‘ This move from quality/value to cost is both a sign of the constrained budgets and issues with federal contracting. This will have to be watched as our government continues to purchase inadequate software, hardware and people. Via FedScoop, more here.

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