Thursday, March 16, 2006

Homeland Security Flunks Security

Department of Homeland Security bungling and mismanagement continues unabated with the release of a report by the House Government Reform Committee, which gave the DHS an "F" for computer security of the department's own computers. This would the same department that is charged with creating and implementing government computer security agenda.

Of course, the DHS is not the only department failing in this regard and it is rather alarming to learn that, among many other administration departments, the Department of Defense, for chrissakes, also got a failing grade on computer security.

Remember, these are the same people who are conducting broad-swath computer data mining surveillance on American citizens and claiming that they know what they're doing with all these fancy computer ... thingys.

Apart from the sheer embarrassment of having the Departments of Defense and Security appearing to be incapable of actually securing their own computer systems against attack, one has to wonder just what on earth is going on in these bureaucracies. Or not. Here is the key passage that tells us exactly what is going on:
It turns out that the vast bulk of the federal information security money is spent on documenting these systems, not on securing or testing them against attacks. Most [agencies] are spending so much on the paperwork exercises that they don't have a lot of money left over to fix the problems they've identified.
This is perfectly in tune with the ethos of the Bush administration, which sees Bush himself dashing about the country talking about how he loves security but actually doing very little about it in the real world. Which is the biggest reason why Katrina was such a monumental disaster.

Apart from vast amounts of sensitive data, these departments have budgets of tens, hundreds of billions of dollars, all of which is most likely accessible through their computer systems. As though there hasn't been enough evidence of arrant incompetence bounding around this administration, we have yet another tale of incredible mismanagement presented to us by an administration that has trumpeted its concern for national security when they can't even secure their own computer systems.


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