Complications stall DoD's Cyber Command

Tuesday - 4/13/2010, 3:38pm 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 or on the radio at 1500 and 820 AM in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

  • As U.S. officials struggle to put together plans to defend government networks, they are faced with questions about the rippling effects of retaliation. Taking action against a hacker could affect foreign countries, private citizens or businesses whose computers might get caught up in the electronic battle. Difficult questions about how and when the U.S. military conducts electronic warfare have stalled the creation of the Pentagon's Cyber Command for months as senators dig into such scenarios involving the rules of the digital battlefield, according to congressional officials. Government leaders have grown increasingly alarmed as U.S. computer networks face constant attacks, including complex criminal schemes and suspected cyber espionage by other nations, such as China. But the nation's ability to protect its networks and respond to attacks are largely kept secret because of national security concerns and the government's slowly evolving cyber security plans.

  • Agencies still haven't put an Internet security program in place, nor have they put federal configuration settings on their work stations. The Government Accountability Office has found that no federal agencies have fully implemented TIC - the Trusted Internet Connections initiative. In another GAO report, auditors found that NO federal agencies have completely implemented the Federal Desktop Core Configuration. Homeland Security Today reports that Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman blasted the agencies in charge of coordinating the efforts, and says he will introduce legislation to go along with recommendations from GAO. Lieberman, Maine Senator Susan Collins, and Delaware Senator Tom Carper wrote to OMB chief Peter Orszag and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to find out what steps their agencies plan to take to follow through on the recommendations of the GAO reports to implement the security measures. The senators requested responses by April 30.