Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wikileaks Fiasco Validates GAO Warning on Feds' Inability to Secure Information Networks

This week's bombshell of another Wiki-leaks information release embarrassed the Obama Administration on multiple fronts.  The major fiasco is the red-faced diplomatic embarrassment over leaks of sensitive information about foreign leaders and nations.  The second has yet to be mentioned, but should be on every one's mind.  It has to deal with securing our federal information networks.

Securing our federal information networks need to be treated with the same scrutiny and vigor as protecting every American man, woman and child.  The U.S. cannot afford to lose any more reputation around the world over this elementary requirement to secure our nation's classified and sensitive data.  Folks, this is Information Security 101.  And the Government Accountability Office (GAO) already cited the agencies for failure to secure their networks. Technology e-magazine eweek.com reported today of similar reports by the federal Office of Management and Budget of similar warnings to agencies to secure networks and removable media.

The June 2010 report cited a six-fold increased in perceived threats against federal information networks. The failure to secure the federal information network against hackers from Wikileaks exposes the Obama Administration from failing to protect America's most precious commodity - intelligence information.  And that could be Obama's downfall.

It does not take a rocket scientist to know that the United States is a target from terrorist groups and rogue nations around the world.  The State Department and Department of Homeland Security need to take this issue and fix this pronto.  Failure to do so further compromise national intelligence and prevent America from protecting itself.

The Department of Homeland Security must focus on:

  • Enterprise security to secure all networks and databases using National Institute of Standards and Technology , or NIST standards.
  • Moving the National Institute of Standards and Technology from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Homeland Security where it can work alongside federal intelligence agencies and federal protection agencies to protect and secure the federal information networks from domestic and foreign threats.
  • Operate the NIST and DHS' Cyber-threat organizations as a single  Information Security agency for the entire federal government.
These initial steps should move the U.S. towards having a more secure federal information network that will not be penetrable from domestic and foreign threats.

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