Tags: Emerging Threats | Homeland Security | cyber | attacks | hackers | computers | government

Govt. Relies on Aging, Clunky System for Cyber Defense: Report

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Jun 2015 09:15 AM

The federal government's system designed to protect sensitive data from hacks has been affected by delays and claims that it is already outdated, even though it has yet to be fully implemented, The Hill reported.

The Einstein system was designed to prevent cyber breaches like the attack recently on the Office of Personnel Management which compromised as many as 4 million records; one of the largest breaches of government personnel data in history. China is thought to be behind the attack, according to The Hill.

The multibillion-dollar system, critics say, has drawn attention away from the more important task of overhauling security.

"I've spoken to government agencies — it is frightening what I hear from them," Hitesh Sheth, CEO of Vectra, which helps companies monitor their networks, told The Hill.
"They'll tell me, 'We have 10-year-old technology. We are going through a review period. Maybe in nine months we'll get around to upgrading our firewall.'"

Defenders of Einstein admit that the federal protections in place are not enough.

"The capabilities are necessary but in no way near sufficient to be able to counter the threats we see today," Michael Brown, a former director of cybersecurity coordination for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), who worked on the Einstein rollout, told The Hill.

"It's just not agile enough," said Christopher Cummiskey, a former acting undersecretary for management at the DHS who oversaw a number of the agency's cyber efforts. "You're always going to be behind the curve."

The Obama administration has been under fire over the repeated data breaches, unable to prevent cyberattacks on its systems.

"Where's the leadership?" said Cory Fritz, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, according to The Hill. "The federal government has just been hit by one of the largest thefts of sensitive data in history, and this White House is trying to blame anyone but itself. It's absolutely disgusting."

The president, himself, has acknowledged that one of the problems is that the U.S. has a "very old system."

"What we are doing is going agency by agency and figuring out what can we fix with better practices and better computer hygiene by personnel, and where do we need new systems and new infrastructure in order to protect information," he said at a press conference on Monday.

One lawmaker said the administration is nowhere near where it needs to be on cybersecurity.

"We can expect to continue to see these kinds of cyber attacks and intrusions until we get much better at defending our cyber networks," Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin, the Democratic co-chairman of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, told The Hill.
"That is troubling and unfortunate."

But a DHS spokesman insisted that the agency does what it can to fend off cyberattacks.

"Cybersecurity is about risk management, and we cannot eliminate all risk," said S.Y. Lee, according to The Hill. "When incidents do occur, as in this case, DHS provides on-site support to find the adversary, drive them out, and restore service."

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The federal government's system designed to protect sensitive data from hacks has been affected by delays and claims that it is already outdated, even though it has yet to be fully implemented, The Hill reported.
cyber, attacks, hackers, computers, government, einstein
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2015-15-09
Tuesday, 09 Jun 2015 09:15 AM
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