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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 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?

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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