News

State Department still probing system crash that's hindering ability to process passports, visas

The Consular Consolidated Database, or CCD, suffered a major performance breakdown resulting from a standard, scheduled software update, according to the department. Yet, the actual root cause of the incident and the details of what may have impacted the systems—either software or hardware failures—have not yet been determined, officials said.

Climate data initiative teams technology, agriculture industries to secure national food supplies

The White House is reaching out to the nation's technology and agricultural sectors to develop new methods to monitor and respond to climate change, especially capabilities to ensure that crops and food distribution systems can cope with future climate-related disruptions.

NSF announces two new academic-based cybersecurity research grants

The National Science Foundation recently announced funding for two teams of university researchers who will work on new approaches to enhance cybersecurity for information systems as weell as provide education and training around the issue.

NIST seeks public comment on updated guide assessing security measures of systems, networks

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is seeking public comment on a  draft updating a guide designed to help agencies and others better assess how they're protecting federal information systems and networks.

Agencies falling short in providing accurate, complete federal award data, GAO says

The Government Accountability Office said agencies provided incomplete and inaccurate information about such assistance awards - totaling about $619 billion - on USASpending.gov, a publicly accessible website designed to improve transparency and accountability on federal spending.

Senate legislation seeks to put safeguards on student educational records

A bipartisan Senate bill seeks to protect student educational records by limiting how that information is shared with private companies. The Protecting Student Privacy Act, introduced on July 30 by Senators Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, requires that data security safeguards be put in place for sensitive student data held by private firms.

House bill seeks to reform federal IT acquisition, expand competition to smaller firms

The Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology, or RFP-IT, Act was introduced July 30. The legislation proposes to enhance competition for government IT contracts, promote innovation, and strengthen accountability by creating a new government office.

USDA data network vulnerable due to lack of security and oversight

Inadequate security protections of a new U.S. Department of Agriculture computer network could result in a data breach and loss, according to a new internal audit, which also found that the project's prime contractor even under- and overbilled the department for services.

NIST announces competition to help U.S. advanced manufacturing industry

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has announced it will begin accepting applications for a new round of competitive grants to help address challenges to the growth of advanced manufacturing in the United States.

GAO: Troubled Healthcare.gov rollout due to poor planning and oversight

Poor planning and oversight led to significant cost increases, schedule delays and flawed functionality of the federal website and systems that is the centerpiece of the president's healthcare program, congressional investigators said in a new report released July 30.

House passes bill designed to improve data security for federal web sites

The House has passed a bill requiring any new federal website that collects personal data to be certified as functional and secure prior to launch.

FAA rulings on model aircraft stifle development of new technologies, think tank claims

In a letter to the FAA's Regulations Division, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation states that the administration's Special Rule for Model Aircraft is too narrowly defined and would limit the use and development of certain technologies.

British man charged with hacking into U.S. government computers, stealing employee records

Officially, Lauri Love was charged by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia with conspiracy, causing damage to a protected computer, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to an FBI statement July 24.

Paper: NSA surveillance harming Internet, undermining cybersecurity, hurting US businesses

A recently published paper from the New American Foundation says that the National Security Agency's surveillance programs are causing "significant damage" to U.S. interests and the global Internet community.

DISA closes data center in Alabama, functions transferred to other centers

The Defense Information Systems Agency closed its Huntsville, Ala., data center on May 30, a move that is expected to save the Defense Department about $3.2 annually.

New study promotes creation of professional association to address cybersecurity workforce shortfall

A new study calls for the creation of a professional association to address the shortage of highly trained cybersecurity experts who can deal with cyber hackers, thefts, attacks and disruptions, and vulnerabilities.

IG: EPA's Water Office did not have proper oversight of cloud computing activities

The report noted that the agency did not know when its offices were using cloud computing capabilities nor could the EPA provide evidence that it could access contractor's cloud networks for auditing and investigative purposes.

Congress cites SSA information technology program for cost, time overruns

The SSA's Disability Case Processing System, or DCPS, has failed to produce a working system after more than six years of development and $288 million, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Census Bureau seeks industry feedback to improve public-facing website

The Census Bureau is combing the industry for information about how it could improve the presence of its public-facing website as well as search and navigation functionality.

Commerce IG finds weather satellite ground systems vulnerable to cyber attacks

Cyber attackers could potentially gain access to critical weather satellite systems through interconnected information systems, an internal Commerce Department audit has found.