Posts in category Government


Government

FTC Confirms Probe Into Equifax Data Breach

In a rare move, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Thursday confirmed that it has opened an investigation into the data breach at Equifax that compromised the sensitive personal information of 143 million U.S. consumers. The FTC announcement came less than a week after Equifax revealed that an unknown party had gained access to names, addresses, Social Security Numbers and other data belonging to nearly half the U.S. population.

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Government

IT Convergence Trend Alters Approach to Federal Market

Federal agencies have begun using an emerging information technology tool to manage the huge amount of data the United States government generates and stores. Federal IT managers recently have embraced the concept of convergence, which has been gaining traction in the private sector. Agencies also have indicated that the approach may be useful for other federal IT applications.

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Government

FTC to Take a Gander at Amazon’s Discount Pricing Practices

The FTC reportedly is looking into Amazon’s discount pricing practices in response to a complaint filed by Consumer Watchdog over the company’s pending $14 billion purchase of the Whole Foods grocery chain. “Asking informal questions about issues potentially related to a corporate acquisition is a natural part of the FTC review process,” observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

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Government

Trump’s Plan to Make Government IT Great

The American Technology Council, which President Donald Trump established this spring by executive order, has four years to rebuild the federal government’s information technology structure. A massive reboot of both hardware and software will be necessary to bring government computers up to modern standards. The effort will force many government agencies to shift years of floppy disk and other outdated storage technologies to the cloud.

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Government

VA Gives Thumbs Up to Commercial IT Software

A Veterans Affairs decision to pursue a new direction in processing health records has created a highly visible endorsement of the use of COTS information technology by federal agencies. President Trump cited the VA’s action as an example of the administration’s commitment to vastly improve federal IT management. The sheer size of the VA makes the decision to use an outside contractor noteworthy.

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Government

Broader Scope of Russian Election Cyberattacks Revealed

Federal and state officials have confirmed that cyberattacks against state voting systems during the 2016 election were more widespread than previously disclosed to the public, but they said the heightened activity did not impact final vote tallies. The confirmations follow a report that attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election were much greater than previously disclosed.

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Government

Federal Agencies Turn to Software-Defined Data Storage

Federal agencies seeking to deal with huge amounts of information have begun embracing the software-defined data center, a technology tool that has come into vogue for managing and storing data. The SDDC is an offshoot of IT virtualization that uses a software-defined architecture. Agencies have been striving to save money and improve data storage and management in response to government mandates.

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Government

Federal Agencies Mirror Commercial Websites for Encryption

Private and public sector organizations share a common goal in hosting Internet websites: making sure that connections with customers and citizens are secure. However, complete security is not yet universal in either sector. Google and Mozilla, for example, are among many entities promoting Internet security via the adoption of HTTPS versus the basic and less secure HTTP technology.

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Government

FCC Head Champions FM Radio for Smartphones

Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, last week issued a call for activation of the FM chips in smartphones. The vast majority of smartphones sold in the U.S. have FM chips, but they’re activated in only about 44 percent of the top brands, Pai said. Although that’s nearly twice the 25 percent figure of two years ago, it’s not good enough, he suggested.

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Government

Federal IT Acquisition Worth $50B Cleared for Takeoff

A major federal acquisition opportunity with a potential contract value of $50 billion for IT vendors is back on track. The GSA recently resumed processing vendor applications after a legal challenge to the contract was resolved in its favor. As a result, the GSA this fall will reveal the names of approximately 60 vendors who will be eligible to participate in the Alliant 2 IT contract vehicle.

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Government

Microsoft Seeks Global Cybersecurity Accord

Microsoft has called on governments around the world to create a “digital Geneva Convention” as a way to normalize international cybersecurity rules and protect civilian use of the Internet.
President Brad Smith, who is also Microsoft’s chief legal officer, addressed the issue at the annual RSA conference held earlier this week, saying that governments need to establish international rules.

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Government

Silicon Valley Up in Arms Over Proposed H-1B Overhaul

Silicon Valley is in an uproar over a proposed new executive order that would overhaul existing foreign worker visa policies. The Trump administration’s goal apparently is to prioritize the hiring of American workers and change the way U.S. companies can recruit skilled professionals from other countries. Policy should “prioritize the protection of American workers,” the draft reportedly states.

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Government

New FCC Chair Ajit Pai Vows to Kill Net Neutrality Rules

President Donald Trump on Monday named Ajit Pai chairman of the FCC. Pai, who has been a Republican commissioner for the agency since 2012, replaced Tom Wheeler, whom President Obama appointed to the top post in late 2013. With the new administration, Republicans gain the expected majority of the commission. Pai has been known to be a foe of former President Barack Obama’s Net neutrality rules.

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Government

US Pushes Cybersecurity Acquisition Tools as Contracts Flow

Vendors of cybersecurity offerings are finding that the U.S. government is serious about improving the protection of federal IT assets. A steady stream of data protection contracts has been flowing to providers, including some notable high-value transactions during the last half of 2016. One example is a Department of Homeland Security contract, with a potential value of $395 million.

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Government

Cloud Enters Mainstream in Federal IT Investment Plans

U.S. government agencies will continue to invest hefty sums in cloud computing technology over the next five years. After that period, spending on cloud is likely to moderate, but the amount of investing will remain at impressive levels. Cloud computing is far from mature within the federal government, but it has reached a point at which it is a mainstream component of government IT resources.

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Government

Trump, Tech Bigwigs to Meet Wednesday

Some of high-tech’s heaviest hitters will be in New York City Wednesday to meet with President-elect Donald J. Trump. On the list of all-stars expected to attend the meeting are Alphabet CEO Larry Page, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Oracle CEO Safra Catz. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is likely to attend as well.

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Government

Feds Need to Bolster Cyberprotection Speed and Range

Providing cybersecurity adequate to meet increasing threats is a perpetual catch-up process. Public sector agencies are particularly sensitive targets, with high visibility not only to the citizens they serve, but also to cyberattackers. A recent survey uncovered both a lack of speed in detecting and responding to attacks, and weak defenses of the full range of possible attack channels.

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Government

US Comptroller Gears Up for Blockchain and Internet Finance

The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has a lot of catching up to do in dealing with innovative information technology, as it affects not only conventional finance, but also new channels of e-commerce made possible through advances in IT. These channels include cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, related “blockchain” technologies, and other Internet-driven financial services.

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Government

Election Day Cybershenanigans Highlight Need to Shore Up Security

Hackers last week launched DDoS attacks against both presidential candidates’ campaign websites. The attacks were routed through HTTP Layer 7 of the OSI protocol. There were at least four 30-second attacks reported. “The websites were not penetrated by a cyberintrusion,” said John Costello, a senior analyst at Flashpoint. The attackers were unsophisticated hackers and not a nation-state.

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Government

US Launches IT Contract to Spur Cybersecurity Purchases

The U.S. government plans to initiate an updated contracting vehicle for the acquisition of cybersecurity information technologies for federal agencies this month. The purpose of the program is to make it easier and more efficient for federal agencies to obtain cyberprotection services. Specifically, GSA will include cybertechnology providers on a major listing of approved federal contractors.

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Government

Outdated Federal IT Gobbles Up Vendor Opportunities

U.S. government agencies spend an overwhelming amount of their annual information technology budgets simply to maintain old and out-of-date systems. As a result, the amount of money available for investing in modernizing IT keeps shrinking, thus depriving vendors of major marketing opportunities at the federal level. The official federal IT budget has remained at about $82 billion per year for several years.

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Government

Feds Seek Vendor Help for Payroll Processing Upgrade

Technology vendors that support the different missions of U.S. government agencies may have a major opportunity to provide innovative IT assistance for a task that is common to all: preparing the payroll for 2.3 million federal workers. The GSA and the OPM have been sifting through responses from IT vendors on a joint RFI on significantly upgrading federal payroll processing.

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Government

Feds Warn States to Batten Down Hatches Following Election System Attacks

The FBI has launched investigations into malicious cyberattacks on the electronic election infrastructures in Illinois and Arizona, and federal officials last month warned states to take steps to protect their systems as the presidential campaign heats up, according to reports. The attacks, dating back to June, led to the illegal download of information on more than 200,000 Illinois voters.

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Government

Defense Department Drifts Toward Commercial Cloud

The U.S. Department of Defense plans to spend nearly half a billion dollars on a project that is designed to further the incorporation of commercial cloud capabilities into DoD’s information technology operations. Vendors have been asked to submit bids for the project, known as “Mil-Cloud 2.0.” The procurement is one element of a comprehensive DoD strategy for expanding cloud operations.

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Government

Feds Make Big Strides in Big Data Management

U.S. government agencies gradually have been getting a handle on utilizing the potential of big data and data analytics. At the same time, the Obama administration has recognized that significantly more investment will be required for federal big data research in order to guide agencies toward maximizing the value of processing huge chunks of data and improving their data analysis capabilities.

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