Energy, DOD rethink security rules

The Energy and Defense departments are making major changes in their information security policies

OMB GISRA report

The Energy and Defense departments are making major changes in their information security policies following last year's mandated self-assessments, particularly in programs to enforce those policies, officials told Congress earlier this month.

Many agencies knew their security policies were outdated or insufficient before performing the assessments required by the Government Information Security Reform Act (GISRA) of 2000.

But the GISRA assessment provided a detailed examination that was not available before, said Robert Gorrie, deputy director of the Defensewide Information Assurance Program, testifying March 6 before the House Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations.

The senior-level attention has made it possible for significant changes to occur, said Mark Forman, associate director for information technology and e-government at the Office of Management and Budget.

Not only did agency heads have to approve the assessment reports sent to OMB last October, but they also personally received and responded to follow-up letters from OMB Director Mitchell Daniels Jr.

DOD officials are already issuing new information security directives and instructions to replace the 1992 directive that currently governs DOD security, and the capstone directive will be released soon, Gorrie said. But "without question, the biggest single lesson learned during the [GISRA assessment] was the problems associated with our security certification and accreditation program," he said.

The DOD Information Technology Security Certification and Accreditation Program (DITSCAP) is the departmentwide enforcement tool. It is used to make sure every system on the Defense network meets the department's security policies. But it is a complex program, and that complexity has led to many compliance problems as managers try to circumvent the DITSCAP process.

DOD officials already were aware of this problem, but there was no documented proof of it until the GISRA assessment, Gorrie said.

Now DITSCAP is undergoing "dramatic modification" to streamline and clarify the process, he said. DOD officials are also looking for automated tools to make it easier for security and systems managers to comply with the documentation requirements, he said.

At Energy, officials are also updating and enhancing old security policies, including the department's security training and awareness program, which will be expanded "so that every member of the DOE infrastructure is aware that cybersecurity is an integral part of his or her job," said Karen Evans, who became Energy's chief information officer in January.

But Energy officials are also developing many new security programs, particularly the first departmentwide certification and accreditation program for unclassified systems, which is essential to making security a part of every system's life cycle management, she said.

The fact that GISRA focused management attention on security is an important step, but subsequent agency actions will make the difference, said Alan Paller, research director at the SANS Institute, a security education and consulting organization. Currently, those actions are required by OMB guidance, not legislation, he pointed out.

And until corrective actions are mandated, such as those in the Federal Information Security Management Act proposed by Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), which would reauthorize and enhance GISRA, there is no way to ensure that agencies will continue to make necessary changes and that Congress will back them up with funding, said Shannon Kellogg, vice president for information security programs at the Information Technology Association of America.

To ensure continued attention from senior officials, "OMB will soon meet with all 24 large agencies and departments to discuss their work in implementing their corrective action plans," Forman said.

***

Hardening DOD's and Energy's systems

Changes in security policy at the Defense Department include:

* Modifying the DOD Information Technology Security Certification and Accreditation Program, which is used departmentwide to ensure that all information technology systems meet DOD security requirements.

* Publishing a series of new information assurance directives and instructions to replace a single 1992 directive. Some are already available; others, including the "capstone" directive, will be released soon.

Changes at the Energy Department:

* Enhancing the department's security training and awareness program to make sure every DOE employee is aware of his or her security responsibilities.

* Developing a departmentwide certification and accreditation process for DOE's unclassified information systems and networks. DOE already has a similar process for its classified systems.

* Implementing an independent validation and verification process for all of the department's critical information systems.

* Improving the department's IT capital planning process to ensure security is seamlessly integrated into each system's life cycle costs.

NEXT STORY: Oregon rates as e-friendliest

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.