Feeds

DHS grilled over uber secret cybersecurity plans

Too much confusion, senators say

The Power of One Infographic

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. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.