DHS gets failing grade in cybersecurity

DHS gets failing grade in cybersecurity

Summary: Enough said:  The Department of Homeland Security received an F (Failing) grade in cybersecurity from the House Government Reform Committee for the third year in a row. The Committee will likely give the Fed a D+ overall for its cybersecurity efforts.

TOPICS: Security

Enough said:  The Department of Homeland Security received an F (Failing) grade in cybersecurity from the House Government Reform Committee for the third year in a row. The Committee will likely give the Fed a D+ overall for its cybersecurity efforts. The grades will be unveiled today during a Committee oversight hearing, "Is the Government Ready for a Digital Pearl Harbor?" The grades are based on how well the comply with standards defined by the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). The Washington Post has a listing of all the agency grades. Here's a sample:


Topic: Security

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  • Faing Grade?

    Well like all committees, by the time thaty've thought of the problem, sharpened their pencils and scratched their heads, the problem will have morphed outta-sight. I suppose what I'm saying is that big bodies move slowly and the small - possibly individual - target moves quickly. Counterpunching is always reactive, so perhaps hteir 'offensive' needs to be predictive? They do of course run the risk of becoming so proscriptive that they will do the bad-guys job for them and shut down freedom altogether????
    • You're half-right

      I used to work in Government IT and am glad to be out of it.

      The government is it's own worst enemy. All the rules and regulations that are supposed to make them fiscally responsible have the opposite effect.

      Innovation is almost impossible and is institutionally squelched - which is why most of the good stuff comes from outside vendors.

      The government moves slowly because they can't move any quicker. Plus they don't attract all the talent they could. This is not to say there aren't talented people in IT working for the government, but rather they don't exactly attract or make an effort to really keep them.

      it's no wonder they're slow and got a failing grade.
      • Agree, and...

        I wa a Presidential Interchange Executive on loan to the government for a year.
        1. The rules for IT purchases fill a conference table - Congressman Brook's fault.
        2. In a discussion with the CIO of HUD I was told that they were writing Payroll from scratch because they couldn't possibly use the payroll system from DOT (across the street). I asked "Why not?" and was told, "DOT had Brueaus and HUD doesn't" This knid of not-invented-here thinking is not unique to government but no one else carries it this far. I am sure no one knows howmany different payroll systems Federal offices and Departments have written from scratch, despite all having the same rules to follow.
        3. A budgetmeister at HUD told me that his definition of "waste" was "Any unspend funds returned by HUD to Treasuty at the end of the year, afterall our duty is to provide housing not return funds" He was serious.
        4. The Brookings Institute concluded that "If you tried to design a group to destroy American Cities you couldn't do any better than HUD". But at the time FEMA was part of HUD - now Homeland Security has that honor.
  • Sad but true

    My experiences as a contractor to a governmental agency was the people in the agency feared any kind of change and they were able to dictate to their management (geting the agency head fired) and shutdown the project just days before it was to go live. Now this was a single agency so my sample is small but it did run on the 80/20 rule (80% of the work is done by 20% of the people and the other 20% of the work isn't done at all).
    • Worse still...

      Much of what I saw in government was that what was done was frequently counter-productive to the original intent. One of many stories I saw first-hand in a year:

      HUD had a program to make loans to people not able to get a traditional mortgage. It turned out that there was some wisdom in the mortgage companies because many of these people could not make their payments and HUD took over the properties. They then went into HUD's Property disposal unit.

      This unit was headed by a GS17 and had a huge backlog of properties to sell and many employees under the GS17. Rather than quickly put them up for auction, they added properties to their backlog. The houses got worse by the day, causing neighbors to abandon their properties rather than struggle to keep up their own payments. Many cities had totally gutted HUD-owned neighborhoods. Why? Because if they quickly turned properties over to a network of local auction houses they would not need a large staff and the Unit could be managed by a GS12.
    • I'd say

      that 80% do 20% of the work....and the other 80% of the work isn't done, and efforts are applied to getting a larger budget and blaming someone else for all agency failings.
  • Ivan, Get your hackers to work

    Here is a nice article from the US press indicating their systems that are open for business. Get your hackers to work. There are several friendly gouvernments and movements that will pay well for first-hand information.

  • Its hardly a surprise.

    Name three things the government does well. (Spending your money doesn't count.) Name just one thing they do well.

    Its hard to believe, there are people who think bigger government is the answer to any problem.
  • Is Anyone Really Surprised?

    Considering we have a President who gets an "F" for everything he has done in office, this should be no surprise! Maybe he should give a no-bid contract to Halliburton to fix our cybersecurity!
  • The entire US Government gets a failing grade IMHO...

    Let's face it - our federal government is completely out of control, folks. There isn't a department there that is effective and cost-efficient. All of the rules and regs eliminate any chance of anything meaningful and intelligent ever seeing the light of day.

    DHS is a complete joke, and we aren't any safer today than we were on 9/11. I'm surprised the terrorists haven't hit again by now... I wonder what they're waiting for? I'm more scared now than I ever have been in my life.

    I voted for Bush both times, and now I'm ashamed I did - he is a national embarrassment, and his Cabinet is completely clueless. However, I don't think the Democrats would or could do any better... the problem is that we we don't have any meaningful choice in leadership - it's either crooks, idiots, or both!