Feeds

DHS grilled over uber secret cybersecurity plans

Too much confusion, senators say

High performance access to file storage

The US Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity initiative may be unnecessarily shrouded in secrecy and too reliant on contractors, according to a Senate panel.

The concerns are so basic that the panel also included questions asking what, exactly, is the role of program and why a determination was even made to start it. The program was unveiled in January as the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC).

"The Department’s plan to use contractor personnel to support the initiative merits some scrutiny in light of this Committee’s past work in this area," US Senators Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins, the chairman and ranking member respectively on the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, wrote. They said a recent RFP (request for proposal) issued by DHS failed to describe the roles and responsibilities of contractors or specify how they would be monitored.

"We also have concerns about how information has been shared with Congress and other stakeholders concerning this initiative and the potential impact this lack of collaboration may have on the success of the initiative," they added. The senators acknowledged that some aspects of the program need to remain confidential, but as things stand, the lack of information concerning NCSC may be creating too much confusion.

"Given the broad nature and goals of this initiative, agencies may be less likely to plan for their future information technology needs, fearing that systems they purchase might not comply with the initiative," they said.

The DHS has been accused of stinginess with basic details about what it does before. In February, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others sued the DHS after the agency refused to turn over documents pertaining to searches of electronic data at US borders. The vacuum of information about when border agents search laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices and what they do and don't do with the data they seize, has resulted in a warning to leave customer lists and other sensitive data at home.

The DHS has requested another $83m NCSC to take funding up to nearly $200m.

The senators also voiced concern about the lack of involvement of private sector players who own substantial pieces of internet infrastructure.

"Given their expertise, and the role that private industry must necessarily play in securing government and private sector networks, we urge you to ensure that they are appropriately involved in this initiative," they state. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.