When deception is a good thing

Silhouette of a hacker with binary codes on background

nick-mirabile-resized2By Nick Mirabile, director of cybersecurity

In 2013, a pro-Assad group known as the Syrian Electronic Army hacked into the Associated Press’ Twitter account and broadcast a fake report about explosions at the White House. It caused the Dow Jones industrial average to drop nearly 150 points, erasing $136 billion in market value.

This is cyber deception in action. Cyber attackers have long embraced deception with tactics such as social engineering help-desk employees to install Trojans or obtain users’ credentials. If deception can be used to attack, can it also be used in cyber defense?

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4 ways to show NASA some love

Tom O'Keefenasa_021417By Tom O’Keefe, consultant

The next few years could be interesting for NASA, especially if the Trump administration tries to take aim at its climate observation work. But that won’t necessarily stop the space agency from continuing to innovate, embrace new technologies and continue its move toward the cloud.

In fact, while there have been recent challenges within the agency, particularly concerning cybersecurity, expect NASA to continue its role as a standard-bearer for new technologies within the federal government.

So what does that mean for IT vendors? Well to understand how to appeal to NASA, it’s important to focus on how to better enable its science and engineering mission. Here are some areas to focus on:

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Can data save state and local governments?

Rachel Eckertblog-sledanalyticsBy Rachel Eckert, SLED consultant

While the tumultuous situation in Washington is throwing a wrinkle into state and local politics, governments will continue to face a lack of funding and siloed operations. These two problems aren’t necessarily independent of each other, though. Siloed operations can create financial nightmares in the form of duplicative efforts and inefficient uses of data.

This was among the topics of discussion during last week’s Outlook 2017 event, organized by Governing Magazine.

Duplicative efforts and inefficiencies spell disaster for constrained budgets, which are already struggling to adequately fund education and public safety as Medicaid takes over an ever larger share of their budgets.

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Trump has a cybersecurity plan and it needs your help

Lloyd McCoy Jr.blog-eocyberBy Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD manager

We got a sneak peek this week into what the Trump administration is thinking about with its cybersecurity strategy and it appears there won’t be a major departure from previous administrations.

The Washington Post obtained a copy of a draft executive order on strengthening U.S. cybersecurity and capabilities that President Trump was scheduled to sign yesterday, but the event was postponed.

What I was able to glean from the draft is that it reaffirms cybersecurity as a preeminent national interest and its emergence as a new domain, comparable to air, land, sea and space. In order to protect this interest, the order endorses the “full spectrum” of capabilities to defend U.S. cyber interests, suggesting a policy that embraces both cyber-defensive and offensive toolsets.

In line with the previous two administrations, the order also emphasized protecting both public and private critical infrastructure. While none of this is a major departure, there are a couple of provisions in the draft order that impact the IT community.

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Change is coming to the intelligence community

mark-wisinger_65x85ic_013117Before President Trump entered office, there was widespread speculation on how he would change the intelligence community. Incoming administrations typically lean on intel agencies to get up to speed on security issues, yet this election cycle featured President Trump’s open criticism of the three letter agencies.

It’s safe to assume there will be a few changes in this space. Much of the tension and debate is beyond the scope of this blog, but I’ll break down two significant changes I’m predicting will shake things up for IT procurement.

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What you need to know about Trump’s plan for government

Chris Wiedemann_65 x 85

By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

Trying to read the tea leaves on the Trump administration’s technology priorities has been a challenge for all of us in the industry. But we got a little more clarity on how the new administration would like to manage the executive branch with a report last week outlining a new budget, including appropriations language that President Trump plans to submit in “mid to late April.”

While we haven’t seen the budget itself (and, as always, the appropriations committees will have significant input into the process), reading the Heritage Foundation report that Trump’s budget is purportedly based on reveals some potentially dramatic changes to executive agencies, particularly in the civilian sector. Those potential changes include:

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3 reasons why 2017 is the year for defense health IT

Lloyd McCoy Jr.dha_012417By Lloyd McCoy Jr., DOD manager

2017 promises to be a pivotal year for the Defense Health Agency and not just because MHS Genesis, the Department of Defense’s replacement electronic health record, starts rolling out next month.

Expect attention to now shift to other priorities on DHA’s plate. I’ve written about several of these drivers recently and in earlier blogs and they are just as applicable today. But a couple of recent policy changes and developments are shaping the future of military health.

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