More China hacking, a deputy director for OPM and more

News and notes from around the federal IT community.

iStockPhoto / FCW

Senate panel: Chinese hackers hit defense contractors with cyberattacks

A Senate investigation found Chinese hackers breached the computer systems of transportation contractors working for the Pentagon 20 times over the course of a year. The report from the Senate Armed Services Committee said that U.S. Transportation Command, which handles the movement of troops and equipment, was aware of just two of these intrusions, which occurred between June 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013.

"These peacetime intrusions into the networks of key defense contractors are more evidence of China's aggressive actions in cyberspace," committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said in a statement.

How prepared the defense industry is for such cyber espionage depends, at least in part, on an information-sharing framework between government and contractors that participants say has improved in recent years, FCW reported in May.

Retired admiral tapped for deputy director at OPM

The White House announced Sept. 17 that retired Rear Admiral Earl L. Gay will be the president's nominee for the deputy director post at the Office of Personnel Management.

Gay served more than 30 years in the Navy, and commanded that service's recruiting command from 2011 to 2013. He is currently serving as a senior advisor to OPM Director Katherine Archuleta.

GAO to TSA: Tighten up Secure Flight

The Transportation Security Administration needs to tighten up its management practices to better administer the Secure Flight watchlist matching system, according to two new Government Accountability Office studies.

One report said that although TSA has taken steps to put a finer point on some of the data available through the Secure Flight system, including the ability to give passenger rankings of "high, medium and low risk," it doesn't have a way to tell how bad information could get in. Data obtained between May 2012 and February 2014, said GAO, showed that TSA screening personnel made errors in implementing Secure Flight determinations at the checkpoints. "However, TSA does not have a process for systematically evaluating the root causes of these screening errors," the report said.

A second report said TSA regularly updates privacy documents to address changes in the Secure Flight program and has implemented privacy training for new Secure Flight and DHS staff. However, existing Secure Flight staff do not get privacy refresher courses consistent with Office of Management and Budget requirements, and GAO suggested "providing job-specific privacy refresher training" to address the problem.

Army issues $40.7 million cyber contract

Washington Technology Reports that NCI Information Systems will provide cyber network operations and security support services to the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command G3/5/7. The contract runs through March 31, 2018.

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