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Security Run Amok in the US Government

The government has been trying to get it’s cyber-security posture under one umbrella for a long time now. But until that happens, different agencies will continue to just do their own thing, often in conflict with one another due to a lack of synchronized policy and communication. Take for example the recent episode where a US military cyber-operation took down one of our own intelligence agency’s forum for terrorists – a sort of honeypot for insurgents to communicate betwixt themselves while we watched. It wasn’t even that we didn’t know we were targeting our own asset, the CIA objected to its removal in advance but it got cyber-attacked anyway. This of course alludes to why the government has been struggling to get a unified cyber-command within the military since each service has been doing its own thing attempting to be top dog of the fledgling digital battlefield. Ideally such shenanigans would not have taken place with a consistent C2 structure, channels of communication and having the secrets all under one roof where at least a common tier would have access for deconfliction. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is actively training its own people to target their own computers with hacking classes … well, “DoD personnel are not learning to hack. They are learning to defend the network against hackers” according to spokesmen. So the chaos will be stirred even more with internal employees conducting their own security sweeps somewhat outside the domain of centralized control. Is it any wonder a former NSA tech chief doesn’t trust anything on the net? Although he was referencing a lack of controls around knowing the cloud environment your resources exist in, the very “wild west” nature of the government’s cyberspace policies seems telling of the sheer lack of overarching security and defense initiatives that exist in both corporate, free-market and bureaucratic digital environments. (I know speaking at least from the financial industry that if you knew what IT systems your money was riding in … you’d withdrawal everything in a heartbeat and hide it in your mattress.)

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