Cyber Coordinator Schmidt: US agencies are lagging in security

Thursday - 4/15/2010, 8:30am EDT

Cybersecurity Update - Tune in weekdays at 30 minutes past the hour for the latest cybersecurity news on The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Jane Norris (6-10 a.m.) and The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris (3-7 p.m.). Listen live at FederalNewsRadio.com or on the radio at 1500 and 820 AM in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

  • The government's new cyber chief says federal agencies are lagging in efforts to protect US networks. White House cybercoordinator Howard Schmidt singles out as a problem the lack of capabilities to detect intrusions. He says the government is far behind the private sector. To improve the situation, Schmidt calls for beefed up math and science training in American schools. Schmidt told a crowd at IRMCO on Tuesday the government is already working toward that goal, with scholarships and service programs. About 100 schools have signed on, and the White House has set up a working group to make recommendations on developing a cyber career path in the education system.

  • Fallout continues from a hacker contest held in Canada last month. Yesterday, Apple released a 200 megabyte patch for its Snow Leopard operating system to fix vulnerabilities uncovered in the event, sponsored by 3Com Tipping Point. The patch prevents code embedded in documents from executing. Meanwhile, ComputerWorld reports, just days after a Google researcher published information about an unpatched Java bug, a compromised song lyrics web site is diverting users to a Russian attack server exploiting the flaw to install malware. The site, songlyrics.com, was cited by Roger Thompson, chief research officer at AVG Technologies.

  • Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, says computer network warfare is evolving so rapidly that there's a "mismatch between our technical capabilities to conduct operations and the governing laws and policies," reports the New York Times. As he prepared for a confirmation hearing on Thursday as the first head of the Cyber Command, he pledged that the White House and Pentagon were "working hard to resolve the mismatch." In a written response to questions from senators, General Alexander acknowledged the kind of targets that his new headquarters could be ordered to attack, including "command-and-control systems at military headquarters, air defense networks and weapons systems that require computers to operate."