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New Stanford Cyber Policy Center report details security concerns with 2020 election

Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center, in conjunction with the #StanfordCyberPolicy event held last month, has published a new white paper on the security of US elections entitled “Securing American Elections: Prescriptions for Enhancing the Integrity and Independence of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Elections and Beyond.” Summary: it’s not good.

[HT to Bruce Schneier and his always fascinating/disturbing Crypto-Gram Newsletter. We highly recommend subscribing to the newsletter!]

Cybersecurity of federal agencies reviewed. 71 of 96 rely on “at risk or high risk” programs

The Washington Post is reporting on the release of a new White House cybersecurity report titled “Federal Cybersecurity Risk Determination Report and Action Plan” (I just submitted it to GPO as a fugitive document!). The report has some very disturbing results showing that federal agencies across the government are struggling to get secure. Read on.

The White House and the Department of Homeland Security have finished a governmentwide review examining the security of federal agencies, and the results aren’t pretty.

Dozens of federal agencies have cybersecurity programs that aren’t properly equipped to deal with cyber intrusions in their networks, according to a new report released by the White House Office of Management and Budget. Of the 96 federal agencies examined, a whopping 71 were relying on cybersecurity programs deemed “at risk or high risk.”

…The report found that 12 agencies had “high risk” programs, meaning key cybersecurity tools weren’t in place or weren’t deployed sufficiently. Fifty-nine agencies had “at risk” programs, meaning some of the right policies were in place but there were “significant gaps” in terms of security. OMB also noted that federal agencies lacked the visibility into their own networks that would help them detect attempts to steal data and respond to other cyber incidents.

Although the report doesn’t identify which agencies had cybersecurity problems, the scope of the issues described in the report makes it clear that both small and large agencies alike have a ton of work to do, said Stewart Baker, former assistant secretary for policy at DHS.

[HT BoingBoing]

Trump FCC rescinds and revokes reports and actions

On Friday February 3, 2017, the FCC rescinded and revoked orders and reports that had been issued late in the Obama administration. Some of the reports can be found under transition.fcc.gov, but it is not clear if there are links to them from fcc.gov or if they will remain available to the public.

The Benton Foundation devoted a special issue of Benton’s Headlines to a list of links to stories about the Friday actions. See the entire list of links here: BENTON’S COMMUNICATIONS-RELATED HEADLINES (February 5, 2017).

Some of the stories covered include

  • The FCC paper on Cybersecurity Risk Reduction, which set cybersecurity as a top priority for the Commission, has been set aside and rescinded the White Paper and any and all guidance, determinations, and conclusions contained therein. “The White Paper will have no legal or other effect or meaning going forward.” The white paper said:

    The rapid growth of network-connected consumer devices creates particular cybersecurity challenges. The Commission’s oversight of our country’s privately owned and managed communications networks is an important component of the larger effort to protect critical communications infrastructure and the American public from malicious cyber actors.

    The white paper is available on an FCC transition website: Cybersecurity Risk Reduction Federal Communications Commission, Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau David Simpson, January 18, 2017

  • Retracted the E-rate Modernization Progress Report saying that the report will have no legal or other effect or meaning going forward. The E‐rate program helps ensure that virtually all schools and libraries are able to connect to the Internet. The report is available on an FCC transition web site: E‐rate Modernization Progress Report From Jon Wilkins (Jan 18, 2017).

  • The Commission stopped its review of wireless carriers that exclude their own video-streaming services from customers’ usage caps.
  • FCC handcuffs lifeline program telling nine companies they won’t be allowed to participate in a federal program meant to help them provide affordable Internet access to low-income consumers — weeks after those companies had been given the green light.
  • New FCC Chairman Releases a Friday-Afternoon Flurry of Anti-Consumer Items Freepress.
  • Trump’s F.C.C. Pick Quickly Targets Net Neutrality Rules New York Times