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Documents obtained by Federal News Radio show VA failed for the 15th year in a row its consolidated financial statement audit with regard to security controls.
Documents obtained by Federal News Radio show VA's financial audit found material weaknesses, including the failure to remove terminated employees from accessing the network, and the lack of a formal process for monitoring, preventing installation and removing unauthorized application software on agency systems. House Veterans Affairs lawmakers continue to press VA to make changes to their cybersecurity posture more quickly. VA officials say they have a multi-layered defense to include outside network monitoring by external partners, active scanning of Web applications and source code, and protection of servers, workstations, network and gateways, among other security efforts.
Tags: technology , Veterans Affairs , Stephen Warren , House Veterans Affairs Committee , Senate Veterans Affairs Committee , VA Cyber Efforts in the Hot Seat , veterans , information security , exclusive
Budget cuts notwithstanding, the U.S. Air Force plans to add 1,000 new personnel between 2014 and 2016 as part of its cyber security units. The 24th Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas is home to the U.S. Air Force cyber command. With a budget of about $1 billion and a staff of roughly 400 military and civilian personnel, the command oversees about 6,000 cyber defense personnel throughout the Air Force.
Companies planning to bring aboard some new staff should rethink their secret use of social networking Web sites, like Facebook, to screen new recruits. William Stoughton of North Carolina State University, lead author of a study published in Springer's Journal of Business and Psychology, indicated in his work this practice is viewed by some as a breach of privacy and could create a negative impression of the company for potential employees. This type of spying could even lead to law suits.
Mandiant, the Virginia-based cyber-security firm than pinpointed a hacking unit in Shanghai that experts believe is part of the Chinese Army's cyber command has been sold. FireEye said that the purchase of privately held Mandiant would increase its ability to stop attacks in their early stages. The company valued the deal at nearly $1 billion.
The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) said hacked into Skype's social media accounts last week. Now the Internet calling service confirms it had been hit with a "cyber-attack" but said no user information was compromised. SEA posted a tweet posted on Skype's official Twitter feed that read: "Don't use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook). They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments. More details soon. #SEA"
The Government Accountability Office in a recent report found the requirement for agencies to report data breaches to the Homeland Security Department within one hour of discovering the incident is of little value.
What's the best thing you can do for your computer? Make sure that it's secure. Kaspersky Lab says you should don't invite bugs and malware in by allowing your computer systems to become outdated. The security company urges you to install operating system and application updates as soon as they're available. It also suggests using your software's built-in systems, and don't ignore the prompts they give you to update your computer security.
With so much gloom and doom about Cyber vulnerabilities, the Rand Corporation has some good news. In his book Cyberdeterrence and Cyber war, Martin Libicki puts it into perspective --suggesting Cyberspace has its own laws; for instance, it is easy to hide identities and difficult to predict or even understand battle damage, and attacks deplete themselves quickly. But the overall message is… cyber war is nothing so much as the manipulation of ambiguity.
GSA made the first set of awards under the continuous diagnostics and mitigation (CDM) contract.