The president’s cyber coordinator Howard Schmidt may soon choose a senior director to help him secure federal networks. According to NextGov, it will be Sameer Bhalotra, a professional staffer from the Senate’s Select Intelligence Committee. Sources say that Bhalotra sent out notes on Wednesday letting people know about his move. In his Senate committee job, Bhalotra has responsibility for the cybersecurity budget. He was also a member of the Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency. A formal announcement has not been made.
Lots of cyber security provisions have been stuffed into the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill. Amendments from Representatives Jim Langevin of Rhode Island and Diane Watson of California would establish a National Office for Cyberspace within the White House. And they would update the Federal Information Security Management Act, or FISMA. FISMA requires federal agencies to conduct periodic audits of cyber security, for which they receive a report card. The revisions would emphasize continuous monitoring of networks to detect and root out cyber threats. The amendments reflect several recommendations from the Obama Administration’s 60-Day Cyberspace Policy Review.
There’s reportedly been another cyberattack using money mules, but this time the victim may surprise you. KrebsOnSecurity.com reports organized cyber thieves transferred more than $100,000 out of funds last week from the Treasury Credit Union in Salt Lake City. That financial institution serves employees of the U.S. Treasury Department in the state of Utah and their families. According to the credit union president, the cybercriminals set up the bogus transactions after stealing a bank employee’s online login credentials using a Trojan horse program. The FBI is investigating.
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-8 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.