The Department of Homeland Security is working with RSA in investigating what the IT security vendor characterized as an extremely sophisticated attacked aimed at its SecurID two-factor authentication products.
Hackers target RSA's SecurID products, leading federal IT policymakers question America's preparedness for cyberattacks, new House bill would reform federal IT security governance and why Ohio state government decided to standardize on NIST IT security framework.
"Persistent" is the operative word about the advanced persistent threat that has struck RSA and its SecurID products. "If the bad guys out there want to get to someone ... they can," says David Navetta of the Information Law Group.
The announcement by RSA that it had been a victim of an advanced persistent threat shook the global information security industry. Stephen Northcutt of SANS Institute and David Navetta of the Information Law Group offer insight on what happened, what it means and how to respond.
The bill, sponsored by House Cybersecurity Caucus Co-Chair James Langevin, would create a White House office of cyberspace and replace paper-based FISMA compliance with automated, continuous monitoring of IT systems.
"This is not a record of success; whatever we are doing is not working," says James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "As a nation, despite all the talk, we are still not serious about cybersecurity."
Key U.S. IT networks remain vulnerable to attack, undermining confidence in the nation's IT systems and the information collection and sharing process, Homeland Security Deputy Undersecretary Philip Reitinger and other officials say.
"Almost everyone has a firewall and is using it; it's just not necessarily a relevant defense against the way people are actually being attacked," says Josh Corman, research director of enterprise security at security consultancy The 451 Group.
Australia's government agencies can learn a lot from the nation's banks, when it comes to risk management and protecting privacy, says Graham Ingram, General Manager of the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team. "There are too many people in government organisations who are in denial [of risks]," he says.
Cobit, ITIL, ISO, NIST, an alphabet soup of standards governments often rely on to assure the safety of their IT systems. Ohio government IT leaders saw standardizing on one framework to be a more efficient way to help safeguard IT.
Until the IRS corrects the identified weaknesses, its financial systems and information remain unnecessarily vulnerable to insider threats, including errors or mistakes and fraudulent or malevolent acts by insiders, GAO auditors says.