Asia, and China in particular, has become the global locus of competition in cyberspace, says cybersecurity theorist James Andrew Lewis, in a new paper. Were it not for the fact of malicious Chinese cyber activities--which fall below the threshold of warfare but include rampant and internationally destabilizing cyber espionage--cyber conflict as an issue "would have a much lower profile and be of much less concern both regionally and globally."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced March 4 it's taken full control over a gap filler polar-orbiting weather satellite from NASA. The United States faces the likely prospect of an afternoon orbit polar weather satellite gap of 18 to 24 months between the time that the Suomi NPP reaches the end of its lifespan and when the first orbiter of its successor two-satellite constellation.
A Defense Science Board task force says the Defense Department should segregate a portion of its military force away to ensure it has the capability to complete missions in the event of a catastrophic cyber attack. Ensuring the deterrence threat is credible will require separating some military forces of sufficient capability away from the wider DoD network, at least until Defense develops the capability to return assets to a trusted, known state, the report says.
The Veterans Affairs Department was transmitting sensitive data, including personally identifiable information and internal network routing information, over an unencrypted telecommunications carrier network, according to a March 6 VA Office of Inspector General report (.pdf).
The General Services Administration will beginning March 25 no longer accept new or re-submitted applications for organizations applying to become Third Party Assessment Organizations, a key component of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.
Electronic alerts delivered to primary care physicians by the Veterans Affairs Department's electronic health record may go unseen due to information overload and other factors, finds research based on surveys of 2,590 VA doctors. Regression analysis shows that primary care doctors who reported information overload were also more likely to report having missed results that led to a delay in patient care.
The number of National Security Letters that Google receives from the FBI seeking user data is growing significantly, according to the company's latest transparency report. In 2012, the search engine company saw a 30 percent spike in NSLs from the FBI.
Health data standards development and existing federal incentives for electronic health record adoption won't bring about the widespread electronic sharing of individual medical data among care providers, say the federal organizations charged with administering those incentive programs and developing health information technology standards.
"Effective continuous monitoring of computer workstations allows security issues to be identified and mitigated promptly, reducing the likelihood of a security breach," states the report. "When IRS data and its network are not secured, taxpayer information becomes vulnerable to unauthorized disclosure and theft."
Most major federal agencies have issued to a majority of employees the personal identity verification smartcards required by the 2004 Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, but their utilization for network access remains mostly an exception.
A new initiative is trying to improve the accessibility of social media content from the government for people with disabilities, starting with guidelines and training resources. The toolkit and other future deliverables will continually evolve and adapt to changes and suggestions and its HowTo.gov page has options for agency and public feedback.
Better coordination of cybersecurity research and development efforts between the public and private sectors is needed to counter growing cyber threats to the United States, according to a Feb. 26 joint congressional hearing of two House Space, Science and Technology subcommittees. That job is better left to Congress and not to the president, says Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
Information technology appropriation typically get embedded within larger budget line requests, but some large efforts or IT offices do receive a budget line of their own, and so are visible in the Office of Management and Budget sequestration report (.pdf) the agency sent to Congress on March 1. For example, the e-government fund managed by the General Services Administration will undergo cuts of 5 percent, an amount equal to $600,000.
Although the Defense Department has taken steps to improve in-transit visibility of its assets, no single DoD organization is fully aware of all such efforts. The GAO reviewed 34 of the military's in-transit visibility efforts and found that while DoD conducts "some informal coordination and information sharing" among different defense components that information "is not consistently shared through a formal mechanism."
Getting the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments to share electronic health records by focusing on modernizing their respective systems, rather than developing a single system, is easier said than done, according to Feb. 27 congressional testimony (.pdf) by the Government Accountability Office.
Two Commerce Department agencies heavily involved in federal information technology effort will have $49 million deducted from their budgets over the remainder of the fiscal year due to sequestration. In a Feb. 8 letter (.pdf), Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said sequestration cuts at NIST "would largely fall on grants, contracts, equipment procurements, deferment of open positions, and cuts in the repair and maintenance of NIST facilities."
The interagency program office set up by the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to oversee creation of a joint electronic health record will continue to press forward with the adoption, acquisition or development of medical applications for use by both departments, outgoing VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker said.
Outgoing Veterans Affairs Chief Information Officer Roger Baker held his last monthly presser with reporters Feb. 28, going over the January monthly data breach report (.pdf) to Congress and taking questions about the VA's and Defense Department's recent decision to cancel development of a joint electronic health record, the iEHR.
A basic assumption behind a draft federal information technology acquisition and organization reform bill is that all federal agencies should buy IT as if the federal government were a single entity, said its primary backer, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
Given the changing nature of cyber threats confronting the United States, policymakers need to provide better guidance and greater clarity regarding active cyber defense options available for both the private and public sectors, argues a new report (.pdf) from the Center for a New American Security.