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Jerry Petersen

Sen. Wyden Seeks to Provide Cybersecurity Assistance for Senators’ Personal Devices, Accounts

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and three other lawmakers to support legislation that would permit the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms to secure the personal accounts and devices of senators and their staff from hacking. Sen. Wyden explained in a letter dated Sept. 19 that the SAA was legally prohibited from using public funds to provide protection for electronics and accounts that were not issued by the government.

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Researcher Calls for Appointment of Chief Data Officers at Federal Agencies

Jane Wiseman, a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, has called on the heads of federal agencies to appoint a chief data officer or establish a data management position at their respective departments. Wiseman made the recommendation in a recently released report, noting the inability of government agencies to leverage data in decision-making due to sheer volume.

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DIA Director Says US, China Becoming Enemies ‘Not a Foregone Conclusion’

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley Jr. said during a recent discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that China and the United States becoming enemies is “not a foregone conclusion,” even though the two countries are currently competitors. Ashley also noted that although China has been busy building up its military capabilities, the Asian country’s long-term goal — whether it be global hegemony or simply the protection of national interests — remains unclear, DoD News reported Tuesday.

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Researchers Call Out HHS for Lack of Standardized Data Sharing Protocols

Researchers from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Chief Technology Officer have learned that HHS constituent agencies do not have a standardized mechanism for sharing restricted and nonpublic data. The researchers said in a September 2018 report that there is no uniform documentary requirement among HHS agencies for data requests, and, in many agencies, there is a lack of a "data governance group" that tracks requests and their outcomes. Such deficiencies result in procedural inefficiencies and the siloing of information.

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House Lawmakers Urge Intelligence Community to Look Into ‘Deep Fake’ Tech

Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., sent a letter to National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats on Sept. 13 expressing concern over the possibility that “malicious foreign actors” could use advanced technology to produce “deep fakes”—fraudulent audio recordings, images or videos that are virtually indistinguishable from authentic ones—to blackmail individuals, sow disinformation and potentially threaten public discourse and national security.

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GAO Notes Decline in Procurement Competition Rate at the DoD

The Government Accountability Office noted in an audit report published Wednesday that from 2013 to 2017, the rate at which the Defense Department conducted competitions when procuring products or services went down by more than 4 percent, despite government-wide efforts to encourage the practice. The GAO attributed the regression to a number of factors including the complexity of the DoD’s contracting procedures.

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Equifax Acknowledges IT Shortcomings in GAO Audit Report on 2017 Data Breach

Consumer credit reporting agency Equifax has acknowledged that its failure to identify and patch a critical software vulnerability, and correctly configure a crucial security system led, in part, to the massive 2017 data breach that compromised the personal information of millions of Equifax customers, the Government Accountability Office said in a recently-published audit report.

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USCYBERCOM Chief Says Innovation Key to Staying Ahead in Cyberspace ‘Great Powers Competition’

Gen. Paul Nakasone, head of U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, has said the U.S. is currently in competition with adversarial nation states carrying out "strategic campaigns" in cyberspace, including the theft of intellectual property and personal information as well as attempted electoral disruption.

A 2017 and 2018 Wash100 awardee, Nakasone commented, “Advantage goes to the side that innovates fastest,” adding that, to remain at the forefront of technological advances, USCYBERCOM must continuously collaborate with its partners, MeriTalk reported Friday. Nakasone spoke at the recent Billington Cybersecurity Summit.

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Ken Rogers: State Dept. Eyes Cloud Optimization Approach

Ken Rogers, deputy chief information officer for business management and planning at the State Department, has said that his agency intends to begin consolidating its various cloud services contracts using enterprise licensing next year as part of an effort to optimize its approach to cloud technology. Rogers noted that this approach allows the department to move its clients “to that software-as-a-service layer where they can have a lighter lift,” reduce the time they spend on modernizing applications, “create efficiencies… remove some of the friction” and potentially bring about significant savings, Federal News Radio reported Thursday.

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DHS Secretary Issues Warning Against Cyber Attackers: ‘We Will Respond’

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, a 2018 Wash100 awardee, on Sept. 5 delivered a speech at George Washington University highlighting “a worldwide outbreak of cyberattacks and cyber vulnerabilities,” and describing cyberspace as “the most active battlefield” whose coverage “extends into every single American home.” Secretary Nielsen also talked about new Department of Homeland Security initiatives launched in response to these threats, including inter-agency partnerships to hold cyber attackers responsible. “We will respond. And we will respond decisively,” Nielsen declared.

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