The Government Accountability Office (GAO) wants the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to push agencies harder on cybersecurity directives, and to engage stakeholders earlier.
DHS issues mandatory cybersecurity directives for most federal agencies. For example, one directive requires agencies to better secure their websites and email systems. If the actions specified in these directives are not addressed, agency systems can remain at risk.
A GAO review has found that these directives have often been effective in strengthening federal cybersecurity. However, agencies and DHS didnt always complete the directives actions on time. DHS also did not consistently ensure that agencies fully complied with the directives.
Since 2015, DHS has issued directives that instruct agencies to mitigate critical vulnerabilities discovered by DHS through its scanning of agencies internet-accessible systems; address urgent vulnerabilities in network infrastructure devices identified by DHS; and better secure the governments highest value and most critical information and system assets.
DHS has established a process for developing and overseeing the implementation of binding operational directives, as authorized by theFederal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014(FISMA). The process includes DHS coordinating with stakeholders early in the directives development process and validating agencies actions on the directives. GAOs review found that when implementing this process, DHS did not coordinate with stakeholders early enough and did not consistently validate agencies self-reported actions.
In addition to being a required step in the directives process, FISMA requires DHS to coordinate with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to ensure that the directives do not conflict with existing NIST guidance for federal agencies. However, NIST officials told GAO that DHS often did not reach out to NIST on directives until one to two weeks before the directives were to be issued, and then did not always incorporate the NIST technical comments. DHS and NIST have recently started regular coordination meetings to discuss directive-related issues earlier in the process.
Regarding the validation of agency actions, GAO found that DHS has done so for selected directives, but not for others. GAOs February 4 report said DHS is not well-positioned to validate all directives because it lacks a risk-based approach as well as a strategy to check selected agency-reported actions to validate their completion.
Directives implementation often has been effective in strengthening federal cybersecurity. For example, a 2015 directive on critical vulnerability mitigation required agencies to address critical vulnerabilities discovered by DHS cyber scans of agencies internet-accessible systems within 30 days. This was a new requirement for federal agencies. While agencies did not always meet the 30-day requirement, their mitigations were validated by DHS and reached 87 percent compliance by 2017. DHS officials attributed a recent decline in percentage completion to a 35-day partial government shutdown in late 2018/early 2019. Nevertheless, for the 4-year period under review, agencies mitigated within 30 days about 2,500 of the 3,600 vulnerabilities identified.
Federal civilian agencies have made many significant improvements in cybersecurity by implementing the directives requirements. However, an important performance metric for addressing vulnerabilities identified by high value asset (HVA) assessments does not align with the process DHS has established.
GAO said DHS has only completed about half of the required assessments for fiscal year 2019. In addition, DHS does not plan to issue the guidance, standards, and methodologies on Tier 2 and 3 systems until at least the end of fiscal year 2020. Given these shortcomings, DHS has been reassessing key aspects of the HVA program. However, GAOs review found there was no schedule or plan for completing the HVA reassessment and for addressing the outstanding issues on completing the required assessments, identifying needed resources, and finalizing guidance for Tier 2 and 3 systems.
Without effective schedules and plans, agencies may continue to face increased and prolonged cyber threats. To help address these vulnerabilities, GAO has made four recommendations to DHS.
Determine when in the directive development processfor example, during early development and at directive approvalcoordination with relevant stakeholders, including NIST and GSA, should occur.
Develop a strategy to independently validate selected agencies self-reported actions on meeting binding operational directive requirements, where feasible, using a risk-based approach.
Ensure that the binding operational directive performance metric for addressing vulnerabilities identified by HVA assessments aligns with the process DHS has established.
Develop a schedule and plan for completing the HVA program reassessment and addressing the outstanding issues on completing the required HVA assessments, identifying needed resources, and finalizing guidance for Tier 2 and 3 HVA systems.
DHS agreed with the recommendations and described steps planned or already underway to address them. For example, DHS is working to formalize a risk-based strategy to validate agency results with an estimated completion date of September 30, 2020. The department is also working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to address the need for independent validation.
While figures for 2019 are yet to be released, OMB announced in September that more than 31,000 cyber incidents hit federal agencies in 2018, including phishing attacks and breaches resulting from errors made by authorized users. Threat actors continue to employ persistent and increasingly sophisticated techniques to attack and compromise information systems, and federal agencies and their systems are prime targets. With the added concern this year of election security, it is imperative that DHS works quickly to close gaps in order to strengthen the federal cyber base.
Read the full report at GAO
(Visited 44 times, 45 visits today)
Read this article:
GAO: DHS and Agencies Must Work to Improve Cybersecurity - HSToday
- GLOBAL INTERNET SECURITY FIREWALL MARKET LATEST DEVELOPMENTS, SHARES, AND STRATEGIES EMPLOYED BY THE MAJOR PLAYERS - The Fuel Fox - March 30th, 2020
- Coronavirus Proves We Need the Internet Now More than Ever Before - The National Interest - March 30th, 2020
- The story behind that little padlock in your browser - Horizon magazine - March 30th, 2020
- Finder helps secure the Internet in a time of crisis - CMO - March 30th, 2020
- New Security Report from WatchGuard Shows Explosion in Evasive Malware - socPub - March 30th, 2020
- One senator wants vendors to ensure their internet connectivity devices are secure - fifthdomain.com - March 30th, 2020
- How a VPN works - The Upcoming - March 30th, 2020
- Cryptocurrency Wallets: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know - hackernoon.com - March 30th, 2020
- Sentrybay and Raqmiyat on delivering secure work from home solutions - Tahawul Tech - March 30th, 2020
- Dot-com price rises on their way over the next four years: ICANN approves Verisign contract, walks off with $20m - The Register - March 30th, 2020
- Global Internet Security Market Overview By Threats, Major Opportunities, Drivers, Risk Analysis and Trends - Sound On Sound Fest - March 30th, 2020
- These are the companies offering free software during the coronavirus crisis - IT PRO - March 30th, 2020
- The real insider threat is the use of security software - TechRadar - March 23rd, 2020
- EFF and COVID-19: Protecting Openness, Security, and Civil Liberties - EFF - March 23rd, 2020
- Preparing for November's election must be a national priority | TheHill - The Hill - March 23rd, 2020
- COVID-19 decoy doc, Cloudflare tools used to spread Blackwater malware - SC Magazine - March 23rd, 2020
- Technology saves the day as Kenyan firms send staff to work from home - The East African - March 23rd, 2020
- In Industrial Realm, Trustworthy Software Ensures - IoT World Today - March 23rd, 2020
- Security Software in Telecom Market is Growing Rapidly Due to Increasing Internet Penetration - Press Release - Digital Journal - March 23rd, 2020
- How safe is your brand in the hands of a remote workforce? - Bizcommunity.com - March 23rd, 2020
- Do Netflix And YouTube Really Need To Slash Video Quality To Save The Internet? - Forbes - March 23rd, 2020
- How Organizations Can Retain Talent Amidst the Infosec Skills Gap - tripwire.com - March 23rd, 2020
- Hackers are preying on fears of Covid-19, says cyber security experts - Hindustan Times - March 23rd, 2020
- These Jaw-Dropping Facts Will Change Your Mind About the Internet of Things - The Motley Fool - March 23rd, 2020
- Security Think Tank: Amid panic, how to find a sound level of security - ComputerWeekly.com - March 23rd, 2020
- As universities shut their doors, international students are left in limbo - The Verge - March 23rd, 2020
- Keeping content safe in the IP era | Industry Trends - IBC365 - March 23rd, 2020
- Students concerned with lack of internet access, job security in light of online transition - University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily - March 23rd, 2020
- How Safe is Your Brand in the Hands of a Remote Workforce? - Techfinancials.co.za - March 23rd, 2020
- US Bureau of Census : PRESS RELEASE | MARCH 20, 2020 Statement on 2020 Census Internet Response Security Precautions To protect the integrity of the... - March 23rd, 2020
- Fake coronavirus news is spreading faster than the virus - The Star Online - March 23rd, 2020
- Facebook didnt have to be this way - BusinessLine - March 23rd, 2020
- How Are Digital Natives Shaping the Future of Data Privacy? - Infosecurity Magazine - March 23rd, 2020
- Zero Trust Internet is the Answer - Infosecurity Magazine - March 23rd, 2020
- German government prepares for internet censorship and deployment of the armed forces - World Socialist Web Site - March 23rd, 2020
- Internet of Things (IoT) Security Technology Market Is Expected To Thrive At Impressive Cagr By 2027 Key Players:... - March 23rd, 2020
- Norton Secure VPN - The cocoon of cybersecurity - Blasting News United States - March 13th, 2020
- New rules proposed to boost security of home routers - The Straits Times - March 13th, 2020
- Leaders should act now to counter national security threat to US elections | TheHill - The Hill - March 13th, 2020
- Cybersecurity 2020: The Trends SMBs will Need to Prepare For - CISO MAG - March 13th, 2020
- Namecheap, EFF and the Dangerous Internet Wild West - CircleID - March 13th, 2020
- EARN IT Act threatens end-to-end encryption - Naked Security - March 13th, 2020
- Apples WWDC 2020 is on in a purely digital way - Pickr - March 13th, 2020
- The EARN IT Bill Is the Government's Plan to Scan Every Message Online - EFF - March 13th, 2020
- The pitfalls of being an influencer: What parents should know and do - We Live Security - March 13th, 2020
- 25 tips for navigating the internet today - Alton Telegraph - March 13th, 2020
- Interos Raises $17.5M from Venrock and Kleiner Perkins to Grow Third-Party Risk Management Platform - GlobeNewswire - March 13th, 2020
- Why Are Internet Security Standards Badly Deployed and What to Do About It? - CircleID - March 12th, 2020
- The Internet of Things is a security nightmare reveals latest real-world analysis: unencrypted traffic, network crossover, vulnerable OSes - The... - March 12th, 2020
- How The Internet Of Things Can Transform Workplace Safety | Baird Capital | Security News - SecurityInformed - March 12th, 2020
- The Internet Avoided a Minor Disaster Last Week - WIRED - March 12th, 2020
- Applying the 80/20 rule to cloud security - Help Net Security - March 12th, 2020
- Internet Security Audit Market Report 2020: Acute Analysis of Global Demand and Supply 2025 with Major Key Player: Symantec, Intel Security, IBM,... - March 12th, 2020
- The Hidden Dangers of China's Digital Silk Road - The National Interest - March 12th, 2020
- Students Showed Trend Micro a World Without the Internet - Business Wire - March 12th, 2020
- Android anti-virus products put to the test which are the best at stopping new malicious apps? - Graham Cluley Security News - March 12th, 2020
- Internet security Market 2020 | Applications, Challenges, Growth, Shares, Trends and Forecast To 2026 - Packaging News 24 - March 5th, 2020
- Eight ways to improve cyber-hygiene in the enterprise - Security Boulevard - March 5th, 2020
- The Top 8 Concerns for CISOs in 2020 - Security Boulevard - March 5th, 2020
- iboss Wins Customer Service Department of the Year - Computer Services Silver Award in the 2020 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service - Yahoo... - March 5th, 2020
- 2020 Premium Ethical Hacking Certification Bundle Is Up For A Limited Time Discount Offer Avail Now - Wccftech - March 5th, 2020
- These are the first passwords hackers will try when attacking your device - ZDNet - March 5th, 2020
- US threatens to pull big techs immunities if child abuse isnt curbed - TechCrunch - March 5th, 2020
- Why SSL Encryption Will not Become a Victim of its Own Success - Infosecurity Magazine - March 5th, 2020
- Let's Encrypt: OK, maybe nuking three million HTTPS certs at once was a tad ambitious. Let's take time out - The Register - March 5th, 2020
- Modernizing Threat Management for the Evolving Attack Surfaces of OT, IoT and IoMT - Security Intelligence - March 5th, 2020
- Global Internet Security Audit Market Analysis, Key Insights, and Forecast 2025 By Application, Type, End User and Region - Feed Road - March 5th, 2020
- It has been 15 years, and we're still reporting homograph attacks web domains that stealthily use non-Latin characters to appear legit - The Register - March 5th, 2020
- WhatsApp Provides Information to Intelligence Services - What is the Safest Messenger? - Communal News - March 5th, 2020
- Dear passwords: Forget you. Here's what is going to protect us instead - USA TODAY - March 3rd, 2020
- Do these three things to protect your web security camera from hackers - ZDNet - March 3rd, 2020
- Internet security Market 2020 Analysis by Overview, Growth, Top Companies, Trends, Demand and Forecast to 2026 - Packaging News 24 - March 3rd, 2020
- Navigant Research Report Shows Global Annual Revenue for Home Automation and Security Is Expected to Reach $72 Billion in 2028 - Oklahoman.com - March 3rd, 2020
- NetAbstraction Announces Support for Private and Secure Access to the Dark Web - Yahoo Finance - March 3rd, 2020
- Chinese security firm says CIA hacked Chinese targets for the past 11 years - ZDNet - March 3rd, 2020
- What will be the Internet Security Market Profit Margin, Consumption, Cagr and Revenue in the Forecast Period 2020-2029 - Sound On Sound Fest - March 3rd, 2020
- Global Internet Security Software Market 2020 Growth Factors, Technological Innovation and Emerging Trends 2025 - Monroe Scoop - March 3rd, 2020
- A billion Wi-Fi devices suffer from a newly discovered security flaw - MIT Technology Review - March 3rd, 2020
- It's Time for the US to Step Back Up Against Intellectual Property Theft - The Diplomat - March 3rd, 2020
- Colorado leads the way in election security but ballot counting still carries risk - KRDO - March 3rd, 2020