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Have the Feds Stumbled Upon a Global Cybersecurity Predicament?

Post by Peter McCalister November 18, 2010

The Department of the Interior Inspector General has issued a report that is critical of the agency’scybersecurity performance, summarizing that its efforts fall short of the federal government requirements.  For example, the security levels of certain types of IT systems were not categorized correctly.

This was true for the U.S. Geological Survey who originally determined that it did not have any mission-critical systems, but the Department’s report illustrates that this is not true because this agency’s operating systems handle earthquake monitoring and research, as well as toxic substance analysis.

Cybersecurity covers a broad, yet dynamic area of government and private business; however, this report should give every CIO a moment to pause. According to the latest edition of the Kroll Annual Global Fraud Report, incidence of theft of information and electronic data at global companies has overtaken physical theft for the first time, according to a study released yesterday.

Theft of confidential information is on the rise because data is increasingly portable, access to such data is easier, and perpetrators — often departing or disgruntled employees — can remove it with ease absent sufficient controls. Controlling privileged access  and centrally managing security policies over critical data stored on UNIX, Linux, Mac or Windows platforms is the first step in solving this crisis. The Interior’s report outlining needs within their agency should serve as a warning for every enterprise to assess their IT network and cybersecurity performance.

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