Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

Federal Cybersecurity Incidents Rocket 650% In 5 Years

As Obama administration declares October a time to focus on stopping cybersecurity threats, GAO releases a report indicating weaknesses.

50 Most Influential Government CIOs
Slideshow: 50 Most Influential Government CIOs
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
As the White House declares National Cybersecurity Awareness Month to shed a light on the issue, a federal watchdog report shows that cybersecurity incidents among federal agencies have dramatically risen in recent years.

Reports of security incidents among 24 key agencies increased more than 650% in the last five years, according to a report released Monday by the Government Accountability Office. The report cited persistent weaknesses in information security controls, due to incomplete implementation of security programs, for the disturbing increase in security problems.

At the same time, President Obama has deemed October a month in which the nation should pay special attention to the cybersecurity issues his administration has been working to combat.

"I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the importance of cybersecurity and to observe this month with activities, events, and trainings that will enhance our national security and resilience," Obama said in a proclamation about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

[The feds are taking a new approach to fighting national security threats. Learn more: Homeland Security Revamps Cyber Arm.]

In the proclamation, Obama highlighted efforts the administration has made to bolster cybersecurity within the federal government and among businesses and private consumers.

One is the release of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which aims to improve security for consumers conducting e-commerce by helping prevent fraud and identity theft and by making it easier for businesses to operate online.

Others include numerous partnerships with the private sector to bolster security for U.S. critical infrastructure, and the Department of Homeland Security's Stop. Think. Connect. campaign to raise people's Internet security awareness.

Still, the GAO report suggests that the administration's internal cybersecurity efforts may not be enough. Despite the agency and other federal inspectors making a number of security recommendations to agencies in fiscal years 2010 and 2011, cybersecurity incidents persist, according to the report.

The GAO cited weaknesses in how agencies are implementing security controls as a reason things don't appear to have improved. Specifically, agencies are not always making sure that personnel with significant responsibilities receive the proper training or that there is active monitoring of security controls.

Agencies also have not fixed weaknesses effectively nor have they resolved incidents "in a timely manner," according to the report.

The GAO also put some blame on the Office of Management and Budget for persistent cybersecurity incidents, saying that while they provided new cybersecurity metrics for agencies, they did not always provide performance target to measure improvements.

Despite the bleak news, the administration continues to hammer away at cybersecurity and has even recently taken more steps to force agencies to be more proactive in preventing incidents.

One new mandate that should bring better monitoring of agencies' cybersecurity postures is that agencies must begin reporting security data monthly to an online compliance tool called CyberScope as part of new fiscal year 2011 requirements for Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), the standard for federal security implementation.

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Bprince
50%
50%
Bprince,
User Rank: Ninja
10/4/2011 | 10:38:52 PM
re: Federal Cybersecurity Incidents Rocket 650% In 5 Years
No surprise here. The Obama administration has done a good job I think of pushing cyber-security issues into public discussion as it relates to the nation's IT infrastructure. Seems clear however we have a long way to go.
Brian Prince, InformationWeek contributor
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/14/2020
Lock-Pickers Face an Uncertain Future Online
Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  8/10/2020
Hacking It as a CISO: Advice for Security Leadership
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/10/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 New Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities That Could Put Your Enterprise at Risk
In this Dark Reading Tech Digest, we look at the ways security researchers and ethical hackers find critical vulnerabilities and offer insights into how you can fix them before attackers can exploit them.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-17475
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
Lack of authentication in the network relays used in MEGVII Koala 2.9.1-c3s allows attackers to grant physical access to anyone by sending packet data to UDP port 5000.
CVE-2020-0255
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2020-10751. Reason: This candidate is a duplicate of CVE-2020-10751. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2020-10751 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to prevent accidenta...
CVE-2020-14353
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2017-18270. Reason: This candidate is a duplicate of CVE-2017-18270. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2017-18270 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to prevent accidenta...
CVE-2020-17464
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Further investigation showed that it was not a security issue. Notes: none.
CVE-2020-17473
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
Lack of mutual authentication in ZKTeco FaceDepot 7B 1.0.213 and ZKBiosecurity Server 1.0.0_20190723 allows an attacker to obtain a long-lasting token by impersonating the server.