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OMB and DHS Clarify Cybersecurity Responsibility and Activities within the Executive Branch

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2010- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Cybersercurity Coordinator recently released a joint memo in which their specific responsibilities were outlined following the regulations in the Federal Information and Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA).

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WASHINGTON, July 12, 2010- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Cybersercurity Coordinator recently released a joint memo in which their specific responsibilities were outlined following the regulations in the Federal Information and Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA).

The memo stated that the OMB is now responsible for submitting the annual FISMA report to Congress. DHS will also assist OMB by developing analyses for the FISMA annual report. The report will help develop cybersecurity policies and secure funding for the OMB and federal cybersecurity activities.

The Cybersecurity Coordinator will ensure that the federal agencies comply with FISMA, and they will also be the main White House official to coordinate interagency cooperation in cybersecurity efforts.

The memo also outlined DHS’s current duties, which include protecting federal infrastructure and securing federal civilian government systems and private sector systems. DHS also helps in maintaining the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team which is “charged with providing response support and defense against cyber-attacks for the Federal Civil Executive Branch and information sharing and collaboration with state and local government, industry and international partners.”

DHS will now be primarily responsible within the executive branch for managing federal information systems security as found in FISMA. It will be subject to OMB oversight, and is subject to the same limitations and requirements that apply to OMB.

Other  DHS activities outlined in the memo include overseeing implementation and reporting on cybersecurity policies, assisting efforts to provide adequate, effective, and cost-efficient cybersecurity to the federal agencies, and making sure the agencies are complying with FISMA regulations. In addition, they will oversee the agencies’ cybersecurity operations and incident response, and provide assistance when necessary.

The memo was written by Peter R. Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget and Howard A. Schmidt, special assistant to the president and Cybersecurity Coordinator.

Lindsey is working with BroadbandBreakfast.com through an internship with the National Journalism Center. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in professional writing. She has worked in Virginia Tech's public affairs department, and she was an assistant editor of one of the college's news-magazines. Lindsey is from Chatham, Va.

Cybersecurity

On Cybersecurity, Federal Guidance is Absent and Local Governments Won’t Let Them In, Says Cisco

Texas government official says that “cybersecurity needs to be a kitchen table topic.”

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Photoillustration for a Cisco innovation and research symposium in April 2018 by J. Barande used with permission

WASHINGTON, January 27, 2022 – Software and networking company Cisco is asking state governments to let it in on the conversation of cybersecurity.

Mike Witzman, the director of systems engineering at Cisco, said at a cybersecurity event hosted by the Information Technology Industry Council on Wednesday that the company wants to be more than a product or service and wants to be involved in government conversations about improving security against vulnerabilities.

Witzman emphasized the need to bolster public-private partnerships in front of Texas and Florida representatives Wednesday. That included Amanda Crawford, chief information officer for the State of Texas, who said the state’s plan includes responding to cybersecurity events with the urgency of natural disasters.

The problem currently hampering the Lone Star state, according to Crawford and Texas House Representative Giovanni Capriglione, is that local governments are not participating in cyber matters as much as they could or should. They also blamed a lack of guidance from the federal government on their cybersecurity preparedness.

Training for cybersecurity and individual protection

James Grant, Florida’s chief information officer, said that his state is focused on bringing recent graduates in for cyber training to prepare the state in protection measures.

The discussion also raised the need for citizens to protect themselves. That included getting citizens to do basic things like use stronger passwords and activate multi-factor authentication to protect their data.

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Cybersecurity

Biden On Lookout for Cyberattacks with Russia Massing on Border of Ukraine

The president says that, in the past, Russia has taken covert military actions.

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Photo of President Joe Biden on Thursday

WASHINGTON, January 20, 2022 – President Joe Biden said Thursday that the administration will be on the lookout for Russian cyberattacks in Ukraine as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin may be edging closer to invading Ukrainian territory.

Biden warned that, in the past, Russia has launched aggressive computer attacks that, while perhaps falling short of overt military action, have been daunting cyber-offensives of “military” officials not wearing Russian uniforms.

The comments came at the beginning of Thursday’s meeting of Biden’s Infrastructure Implementation Task Force. Biden briefly addressed rising tensions surrounding Ukraine.

Many critics of Russia, including Biden, have said that they Putin will pounce.

During his remarks, Biden said Moscow would “pay a heavy price” should it move any Russian troops across the Ukrainian border.

Following his foreign policy comments, Biden turned his attention to the planned task force talks on implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed on November 15, 2022.

He turned to former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the administration’s unofficial “infrastructure czar,” to offer comments on the administration’s progress to press.

Biden specifically addressed the law’s implications for ongoing supply chain issues.

Since the back half of 2021, the world has faced historic shipping delays on a variety of commercial goods as global manufacturing systems continue struggling to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and workforce shortages exacerbated by it.

Specifically, the tech industry has faced chronic shortages of semiconductor chips, perhaps worse than most other commodities. The shortages have crippled many digital industry supply chains. products.

Biden said that with the infrastructure law investment in physical infrastructure, including additional highways to alleviate traffic on the nation’s roads, will allow goods to be transported faster through existing supply chains.

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Cybersecurity

Telework Here to Stay, But Devices Need Beefed Up Security

The future of teleworking will need upgraded security.

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Allen McNaughton, sales director at Infoblox

WASHINGTON, January 19, 2022 – Remote work is here to stay, but that means getting up to speed on securing websites is critical, said a director at an information technology security company Wednesday.

At a Business of Federal Technology event, which posed the question “is hybrid forever?,” Kiran Ahuja, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, said “hybrid remote work and telework policies are clearly helping not only federal agencies, but literally every single office, company, and organization in this country.”

But while Allen McNaughton, sales director at security company Infoblox, agreed that telehealth is “here to stay, no doubt about it,” he also made clear that the reality of hybrid work is not effective without protected technology.

“When you have telework, when you have people that can work anywhere in the world, the world is now your attack surface,” says McNaughton. McNaughton noted that there is now a greater opportunity for hackers to install malware on unsecure devices.

The country has already been gripped by high-profile cyberattacks, including on software company SolarWinds, oil transport company Colonial Pipeline, and meat producer JBS USA.

Some of the attackers simply gained access because devices had simple default passwords, raising concern among security experts about how prepared people are for full-time remote work and school.

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