Federal Government Looks To Strengthen Data Security

Federal Government Looks To Strengthen Data Security

President Obama Proposes to Strengthen Data Security For The Federal Government – What would that really mean?

After a series of high-profile breaches of federal government systems, President Barak Obama’s recently proposed federal budget for fiscal 2017 includes $19 billion allocation for a broad cybersecurity initiative to strengthen data security. The budget proposal for cybersecurity-related activities represents a more than 35 percent increase from last year’s funding request.

President Obama Proposes to Strengthen Data Security For The Federal Government – What would that really mean?

High-Profile Federal Data Breaches

Federal government databases hold a treasure trove of information for hackers, whether they seek to conduct cyberwarfare or simply commit identity fraud. Earlier this month, the names, titles, phone numbers and email addresses of approximately 30,000 employees of the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Protection were posted online. According to the hackers, they obtained the data by breaking into a Department of Justice database. Other high-profile cyberattacks on the federal government include a data intrusion at the Office of Personnel Management that compromised the information of 20 million current and federal employees and contractors.

Proposed Cybersecurity Initiative

As a means to deter future data breaches, the Obama Administration is seeking to modernize the federal government’s aging technical infrastructure. In addition to devoting $3.1 billion to the IT overhaul, the President’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan also calls for a new Federal Chief Information Security Officer who will coordinate the retirement and replacement of legacy IT across the government. Federal agencies will also be required to “identify and prioritize their highest value and most at-risk IT assets” and then implement additional security measures.

"This is not ideological issue. It doesn't matter if there's a Democratic president or a Republican president. If you've got broken, old systems — computers, mainframes, software — that doesn't work anymore, then you can keep on putting a bunch of patch on it but it's not going to make it safe," President Obama said.

Pursuant to the President’s Executive Order on cybersecurity, the federal government also plans to speed up the adoption of multi-factor authentication and identity proofing for digital services offered to the public. It will also launch public service campaigns regarding the importance of using multi-factor authentication when logging into other online accounts, such as social media and email accounts.

The Obama Administration’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) also includes cybersecurity proposals related to businesses and the private sector. Most notably, the President plans to establish the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, which would be comprised of “top strategic, business, and technical thinkers from outside of Government.” The Commission would be tasked with recommending “actions that can be taken over the next decade to enhance cybersecurity awareness and protections throughout the private sector and at all levels of Government, to protect privacy, to maintain public safety and economic and national security, and to empower Americans to take better control of their digital security.”

Of course, many of the proposed cybersecurity measures will require Congress to sign off. While President Obama has had difficulty pushing many budget proposals through the House of Representatives, the White House stated that President Obama has already had positive discussions with the newly elected Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan.

Time will tell if this budget will confront opposition, but time is certainly of the essence when it comes to confronting cyber security.


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Federal Government Looks To Strengthen Data Security

Federal Government Looks To Strengthen Data Security
Author:

After a series of high-profile breaches of federal government systems, President Barak Obama’s recently proposed federal budget for fiscal 2017 includes $19 billion allocation for a broad cybersecurity initiative to strengthen data security. The budget proposal for cybersecurity-related activities represents a more than 35 percent increase from last year’s funding request.

President Obama Proposes to Strengthen Data Security For The Federal Government – What would that really mean?

High-Profile Federal Data Breaches

Federal government databases hold a treasure trove of information for hackers, whether they seek to conduct cyberwarfare or simply commit identity fraud. Earlier this month, the names, titles, phone numbers and email addresses of approximately 30,000 employees of the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Protection were posted online. According to the hackers, they obtained the data by breaking into a Department of Justice database. Other high-profile cyberattacks on the federal government include a data intrusion at the Office of Personnel Management that compromised the information of 20 million current and federal employees and contractors.

Proposed Cybersecurity Initiative

As a means to deter future data breaches, the Obama Administration is seeking to modernize the federal government’s aging technical infrastructure. In addition to devoting $3.1 billion to the IT overhaul, the President’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan also calls for a new Federal Chief Information Security Officer who will coordinate the retirement and replacement of legacy IT across the government. Federal agencies will also be required to “identify and prioritize their highest value and most at-risk IT assets” and then implement additional security measures.

"This is not ideological issue. It doesn't matter if there's a Democratic president or a Republican president. If you've got broken, old systems — computers, mainframes, software — that doesn't work anymore, then you can keep on putting a bunch of patch on it but it's not going to make it safe," President Obama said.

Pursuant to the President’s Executive Order on cybersecurity, the federal government also plans to speed up the adoption of multi-factor authentication and identity proofing for digital services offered to the public. It will also launch public service campaigns regarding the importance of using multi-factor authentication when logging into other online accounts, such as social media and email accounts.

The Obama Administration’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) also includes cybersecurity proposals related to businesses and the private sector. Most notably, the President plans to establish the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, which would be comprised of “top strategic, business, and technical thinkers from outside of Government.” The Commission would be tasked with recommending “actions that can be taken over the next decade to enhance cybersecurity awareness and protections throughout the private sector and at all levels of Government, to protect privacy, to maintain public safety and economic and national security, and to empower Americans to take better control of their digital security.”

Of course, many of the proposed cybersecurity measures will require Congress to sign off. While President Obama has had difficulty pushing many budget proposals through the House of Representatives, the White House stated that President Obama has already had positive discussions with the newly elected Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan.

Time will tell if this budget will confront opposition, but time is certainly of the essence when it comes to confronting cyber security.