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Posts Tagged ‘obama’


Pressure mounts for naming of a White House cybersecurity adviser with clout

Word is that Melissa Hathaway’s 60-day review of U.S. cybersecurity policy  will hit President Obama’s desk this Friday, April 17. Precisely when the White House makes it public will be an indicator of how high a priority this is with Obama, who certainly has his plate full with a few other weighty matters.

A leak of the executive summary of Hathaway’s review sometime in the next 48 hours — in time to make the all-day Friday news cycle — would  mean one thing. Official White House release of the review  late Friday afternoon, when major news operations are winding down for the weekend, means another.

All eyes of the tech security …more

Q&A on U.S. electrical grid infiltrated by Chinese, Russian cyberspies

The Wall Street Journal’s scoop that Chinese and Russian cyberspies have established deep footholds inside the networks that control the U.S. electrical grid ties directly into the 60-day review of U.S. cybersecurity policy due to be delivered any day to the White House.

Proving investigative journalism is still viable, WSJ reporter Siobahn Gorman cajoled unnamed U.S. intelligence officials to describe how cyberspies have mapped the on-off controls for major sections of the U.S. power grid, and downloaded backdoors enabling them to gain remote control, as needed. Gorman reports that this  puts the Russians and Chinese in position to  manipulate — …more

Senate bill mandates strong federal role to make Internet safer

Sen. John Rockefeller and Sen. Olympia Snowe this week introduced proposed cybersecurity legislation that would create a cabinet-level cybersecurity advisor reporting directly to President Obama — and also create extraordinary powers to enable the federal government to take over leadership in making the Internet safer.

This comes with word expected any day now from Melissa Hathaway, the management consultant tasked by President Obama to conduct a 60-day review of U.S. cybersecurity policy.

Rockefeller-Snowe reflects the wide, bi-partisan consensus that has already gelled in the security community about the need for the federal government, directed by the White House, to step forward.

The proposed legislation echoes the recommendations in this report, delivered …more

‘Cyberinvaders’ crack into Sen. Bill Nelson’s staff PCs — twice

Cyberinvaders, as a peeved Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. called them today, continue cracking into U.S. government systems with impunity.

Nelson, who serves on the Senate Intelligence, Armed Services and Finance committees,  has just issued a statement disclosing that criminal hackers twice this month cracked into two PC workstations used by three of his key staffers. No classified information was kept on the breached PCs, which were used by Nelson’s foreign-policy aide, his deputy legislative director and a forner NASA adviser. So the bad guys stole little of value — at least from Sen. Nelson.

But Nelson also revealed that “similar incursions” of Capitol Hill computer networks “are up significantly in the …more

The cybersecurity mess on the White House front steps

Special to Threatpost
by Byron Acohido (LastWatchdog.com)
March 16, 2009, 7:55 AM

If President Obama thinks fixing the broken U.S. economy is a challenge, and ending the ground wars in the Middle East a conundrum, wait until he gets around to tackling cybersecurity.

Obama must reverse the abject lack of any sort of meaningful coordinated defense against intensifying and overlapping cyber attacks on U.S. citizens, businesses, schools, hospitals, governments and military from unseen enemies.

Yet when the president is finally ready to turn his attention to cybersecurity, he will benefit from important groundwork laid down by a small cadre of concerned lawmakers, bureaucrats, military leaders and corporate executives who fully grasp how chaotically …more

Beckstrom Q&A: Cybersecurity official explains how he was hamstrung by NSA

The sudden resignation  of Rod A. Beckstrom, the Department of Homeland Security’s senior  official tasked with unifying the federal government’s cybersecurity intiatives, bodes ill for a new age of transparency and collaborative problem-solving in government. Beckstrom was unable to maneuver around, much less partner with, the powerful National Security Agency (NSA).

In this stunningly frank March 5th resignation letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, Beckstrom, Director of the National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) cites funding roadblocks and smothering controls imposed by the super-secret NSA.

“NSA effectively controls DHS cyber efforts through detailees, technology insertions, and the proposed move of NPPD and the NCSC to a Fort Meade NSA facility,” he …more

Lack of transparency surrounding data breaches not a good thing

In trying to secretly clean up after the series of data breaches of payment card processing companies, Visa and MasterCard are making ineffectual  the data- loss disclosure laws on the books in more than 30 states.  These hard-won laws were intended to put pressure on companies and organizations  to be more accountable for  sensitive consumer data they collect and store.  In a recent Last Watchdog interview, John Ottman, CEO Application Security, Inc., a leading database security firm, addressed some of the nuances, and explained  how the laws themselves are being undermined. Excerpts from L W’s interview with Ottman:

LW: Heartland Payment Systems, Visa, MasterCard and …more