No new funding is on the horizon, and an underlying problem with the budget process makes funding security initiatives difficult, the State Department CIO says
Agencies should not expect any additional funding for security this year,
even though the need to protect their systems is rapidly growing, according
to Fernando Burbano, chief information officer at the State Department.
As the number of Internet users grows and intrusion tools become simpler
but more sophisticated, it is easier for hackers to infiltrate a system,
Burbano said at a conference Wednesday organized by the Digital Government
Institute. Many hacker tools are "point and click" and are freely available
on the Internet, he said.
Burbano said it is possible that the next president will bring "new
money" for security programs; the two leading candidates have shown enthusiasm
on the issue.
There is, however, an underlying problem with the budget process that
makes funding security initiatives difficult, Burbano said. For example,
although the White House issued Presidential Decision Directive 63 in May
1998, it took agencies until late last year to draft their PDD 63 plans,
and funding requests are just now being incorporated into budgets.
PDD 63 requires agencies to develop ways to protect their critical information
systems from cyberattacks.
"A lot of Internet applications critical to agencies haven't come up
until the last year or two," Burbano said. "They require different security
from what [is necessary] on mainframes. [Agencies] are not budgeted for
In order to decide how to allocate resources for security, agencies
should first identify critical assets and perform a risk assessment, Burbano
said. Agencies must develop a list of threats, evaluate which threats impact
them and determine the impact of successful attacks.
In terms of strategy, agencies should first eliminate nuisance threats,
Burbano said, adding that they should also develop a priority list and share
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