News Feature | August 27, 2014

Government IT News For VARs — August 27, 2014

By Christine Kern

Government IT News

In news this week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) have suspended contracts with U.S. Investigations Services (USIS) in the wake of the major cyber-attack that may have accessed more than 25,000 DHS employees.  Agencies also find that combining a content management system with mobile device management (MDM) can save money and provide secure transmission of content on mobile devices.  The Department of Defense (DOD) is re-examining its cloud security policies; Open Source may not be the hazard some think it is. And if the Freedom Act is passed, some IT vendors may be left holding the financial bag.

DHS, OPM Suspend Contracts With USIS After Major Cyberattack

The Federal Times reported that DHS has suspended background checks and most contracts with contractor USIS after a cyber-attack may have accessed the personal information of over 25,000 DHS employees. A multiagency cyber response team now is working to identify the scope of the attack and how many employees were affected. DHS has also stopped providing sensitive information to USIS, according to a DHS official, which means that many of its contracts are in a state of suspension.

Agencies Tap Mobile Content Management Features To Reduce Costs And Improve Security

This article from Fed Tech Magazine  discusses how federal agencies secure mobile content.  Combining a content management system with MDM has helped the Census Bureau save money and more efficiently and securely transmit content on mobile devices.

Is DOD’s Bar Too High for Cloud Security?

This article from Fed Tech Magazine examines the DOD’s policies regarding cloud security.  The Defense Information Systems Agency is examining whether the Pentagon’s security standards are too cumbersome and should be revised. The DOD’s security standards for industry currently exceed the government’s own Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) baseline requirements. DOD is launching a series of pilot programs to determine the right balance between national security system and FedRAMP requirements that are sufficient for protecting department business systems but don’t place unnecessary burdens on industry.

Is Open Source An Open Invitation To Hack Webmail Encryption?

This article from the E-Commerce Times  investigates the downfalls of using open source.  Yahoo and Google last week announced that they were cooperating on end-to-end encrypting their webmail products. While the open source approach to software development has proven its value over and over again, the idea of opening up the code for security features to anyone with eyeballs still creates anxiety in some circles. These fears are ill-founded, according to this article.

Freedom Act Leaves IT Sector At Risk For Spy Program Costs

E-Commerce Times reported that Senator Leahy’s recent proposal in the U.S. Senate, called the Freedom Act, designed to curb the impact of electronic surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency could enhance privacy for citizens and benefit businesses as well. The act, however, leaves the major information technology companies that help the government collect telecom and Internet data vulnerable to the substantial costs of working with the NSA, even if the proposed bill becomes law.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Government IT Resource Center.

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