Cybersecurity has grown in importance as networked systems become irreplaceable methods for delivering federal services and enabling day-to-day operations. The Office of Management and Budget reported in March 2010 that during fiscal 2010 agencies identified 41,776 cyber incidents--a 39 percent increase in cyber attacks over the previous year.

Big changes are afoot in the federal cyber arena, with the Defense Department having stood up Cyber Command, the Homeland Security Department readying active defense measures for federal networks and the entire federal government debating the role it should play in securing critical infrastructure in private sector hands. 

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Latest Headlines

Education Department must address some persistent info security issues, IG says

While the Education Department has strengthened its information security programs, an internal audit said "longstanding weaknesses" could potentially leave systems vulnerable to serious threats. The department's inspector general said it had identified about a half dozen issues from reports in previous fiscal years. In some cases, the department didn't implement fixes even though it said it had done so.

NRC must beef up information systems security practices, processes, IG says

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission needs to perform continuous monitoring of its information systems and update its system security plans, according to a recently released internal audit.

From cybersecurity to transportation, IG lists major challenges facing DHS

The IG's report listed a number of challenges across the Homeland Security Department over the last year through investigations and audits, but it didn't contain any recommendations.

Cybersecurity remains top-five challenge for Justice Department, IG says

As cyber threats, attacks and espionage escalate against the United States, the Justice Department needs to make sure it's properly addressing these issues in a coordinated manner and sharing critical information with industry, among other measures, the inspector general said.

Major privacy groups back FTC in consumer data lawsuit against Wyndham

Several major electronic privacy organizations have filed amicus briefs, supporting the Federal Trade Commission's lawsuit against Wyndham Worldwide Corp. that, the commission alleged, failed to protect consumer information.

Carper hopes USPS breach will breathe life into cyber bills

The Postal Service breach  announced  Nov. 10 serves as yet another example of the vulnerabilities found in federal IT systems, said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) in a statement emailed to members of the press. Carper is using the USPS breach as an opportunity to garner support for cyber legislation that has repeatedly become a back-burner issue on the Hill.

Navy research lab helping Marine Corps intelligence improve cybersecurity posture

A Naval research laboratory is helping Marine Corps intelligence improve its cybersecurity environment, and these activities could potentially be expanded across the entire service, Defense Department and other governmental organizations.

FERC improves unclassified cybersecurity program, IG review finds

Steps taken by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have improved its unclassified cybersecurity program, including the management of software upgrades and fixes, according to a review by the Energy Department's inspector general.

IRS not documenting risk-based IT security decisions, finds IG

The Internal Revenue Service failed to consistently document when it made exceptions to its own information technology security policies and requirements based on suitable justifications and a thorough assessment of potential risks, finds a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report (pdf) dated Sept. 22 but only issued publicly Nov. 6.

Despite investment, many feds not satisfied with state of information governance

Many federal agencies are not satisfied with the state of information governance at their agencies, according to a new survey. Seventy-six percent have an enterprisewide information governance strategy but only 22 percent say it's "very effective," finds a survey of 152 federal government attorneys, IT executives, Freedom of Information Act agents and records managers published by Symantec Nov. 6.