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The Department of Homeland Security continues to have major security issues

A group of hackers successfully penetrated Department of Homeland Security computer systems over a series of hundreds of attacks, according to a congressional panel.  Congress admitted the branch suffered at least 844 hacker break-ins, virus and trojan outbreaks and other security issues over a period of two years -- many of which resulted in rootkits, backdoors and key loggers.

"It was a shock and a disappointment to learn that the Department of Homeland Security -- the agency charged with being the lead in our national cybersecurity -- has suffered so many significant security problems on its networks," said Representative James Langevin during the hearing.

Homeland Security CIO Scott Charbo sat on the hot seat while trying to defend his job during last week's panel.  Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., claimed the reoccurring computer issues are a serious problem which must be fixed as soon as possible.     

Charbo told Congress the department planned to spend as much as $332 million on computer security throughout 2007.

Computers used by the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also were identified as infected.  In perhaps the most egregious offense, the TSA lost a hard drive containing sensitive information of its employee database.

Scarbo promises the department is working to limit future computer security problems.  Scarbo's largest plan, dubbed OneNet, consolidates all of the wide-area and virtual-private networks currently in use.  The consolidation will eliminate the spaghetti infrastructure currently used for some of America's most sensitive civil data.

Other major amalgamations will follow OneNet, including database and email centralizations. Scarbo claims that in 2007 alone, the department corrected 7,000 security weaknesses in its infrastructure.

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RE: What exactly does Homeland security do?
By AntiM on 6/22/2007 10:33:14 AM , Rating: 5
I knew that creating such an organization was a mistake when idiot Bush first proposed it. Rather than fixing the Offices already responsible for national security, he creates a new bureaucratic money funnel that doesn't do anything but make things worse.

By James Holden on 6/22/2007 10:40:55 AM , Rating: 4
bureaucracy has a solution: we just create a department of homeland security security.

RE: What exactly does Homeland security do?
By TheDoc9 on 6/22/2007 10:49:44 AM , Rating: 1
I think you guys might be blowing this out of proportion. These 'attacks' included things like trojans and key loggers, all of which are easy to get on the web. If just one employee out of 50 doesn't know the net very well and does something stupid then they can get infected no matter what security measures are in place. Also I don't know what they do but if it's there job to check out questionable sites then they may be exposed to this stuff constantly. I know there's a counter argument for everything I just mentioned but you have to admit; The story doesn't go on to say how successful that these attacks were. Basically there's no real information to make an informed decision and form a proper opinion about any of this, it's media sensationalism.

Shame on DT.

By othercents on 6/22/2007 10:59:31 AM , Rating: 5
Anytime your doing tests on questionable sites you should be doing it on a computer or computers that are connected to a secure network without access to your primary servers. There is no excuse for trojans and key loggers to be on the primary network.


By KristopherKubicki on 6/22/2007 11:02:26 AM , Rating: 5
If just one employee out of 50 doesn't know the net very well and does something stupid then they can get infected no matter what security measures are in place.

The DHS spends 320 mil per anum to combat things like that.

The story doesn't go on to say how successful that these attacks were.

On the contrary, it says exactly how successful these guys were: 844 times. If you think any department is going to tell you the extent of damage done by said attacks, you're grossly wrong. The only reason they even stated how many times the hackers were successful is because it was a government inquiry.

I'm not really sure what you were expecting, but this is one of the few cases where all the information is very cleanly laid out.

By Samus on 6/22/2007 2:56:38 PM , Rating: 3

RE: What exactly does Homeland security do?
By NaughtyGeek on 6/22/2007 11:33:10 AM , Rating: 2
The Defense Department took as many as 1,500 computers off line because of a cyber-attack, Pentagon officials said Thursday.

I suppose this is media sensationalism as well?

By tacorly on 6/22/2007 1:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
It sounds like they just freaked out and shutdown when a message popped up to some admin saying there was an intrusion. Look at what Gates said, "I don't do email." If you don't do email, Gates, why are you responding on this tech related incident? Why are all the people in Washington making tech and internet related decisions old men who didn't grow up in this era and never got taught to use anything but MSWord?

By Tiberiusdecimus on 6/22/2007 11:06:09 AM , Rating: 2
Well, Bush was against the creation of Homeland Security as a department. Nancy Pelosi, I believe was one of the ones pushing for it.

Never let it be said that a problem didn't arise where Bush doesn't get blamed by some ignoramus or that a politician can't find a way to create even larger, ineffective government agencies to consume tax dollars.

RE: What exactly does Homeland security do?
By Moishe on 6/22/2007 11:56:04 AM , Rating: 2
wow, you're a real genius...
Do you even remember why the DHS was created? It was created because the government offices were not using the same systems and were acting like rivals. The general idea is that they are all on the same team and there should be very few walls between departments that would prevent critical information from flowing. And by the way, if you honestly think that Bush is to blame for your representative's vote then you're fairly out of touch. It's nice to pull out one person to blame out of thousands, but it's a bit absurd.

The concept and idea of the DHS is sound, the implementation is flawed certainly. It takes time to turn a large boat. By the way, this is the perfect example of why liberatarians generally believe that bigger government is worse. Bigger government is more wasteful, less agile, less secure, and more prone to abuse the citizens.

ON TOPIC: It looks to me like this Charbo guy has the right idea. The idea that there are 844 holes in at least 844 networks is not really that surprising to me. What is stupid is that there are actually more than 1-2 main government networks. Security is easier if you have a clearly defined set of walls and rules are enforced. It must be a nightmare for Charbo to take blame for the failure of some lazy office sysadmin in some little office somewhere.

RE: What exactly does Homeland security do?
By AntiM on 6/22/2007 12:38:51 PM , Rating: 2
"Do you even remember why the DHS was created? It was created because the government offices were not using the same systems and were acting like rivals."

You think we need an entire Cabinet-level Department to fix this? NO. Just proper leadership.

If you think Bush isn't squarely to blame for the creation of this Cabinet and it's subsequent ineffectiveness, then you're the one out of touch.

By Treckin on 6/23/2007 2:31:20 AM , Rating: 2
it was actually created at the cabinet level so that the president has direct authority over its leadership. The president could not simply remove civil servants the way he could a cabinet member... there are very specific rules regarding the removal of civil servants.... these were expanded upon in the Hatch act, created partly in the defense of servants from political pressure...

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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