News in Brief

FCC complaint portal, KeyPoint inquiry and a child-porn sentencing

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FCC releases consumer complaints portal

The Federal Communications Commission just released an online one-stop shop for consumers to complain about faulty phone service, lack of 911 coverage, SMS spam, offensive TV and radio broadcasts, and more.

The Consumer Help Center works as a single, unified portal, rather than requiring consumers to navigate the FCC's somewhat labyrinthine organization of bureaus and offices. Users can create accounts and track the progress of complaints. The service gives the FCC more agility in submitting complaints to service providers, the agency claims. The site also includes metrics on FCC help desk usage by consumers during a two-month test period, and more data on complaints will be released in the future.

FCC CIO David Bray said on Twitter that the system is "a model for future cloud based IT," and that utilizing a software-as-a-service solution pushed costs down 85 percent over an on-premise solution. The new system is part of a larger FCC tech migration that involves both SaaS and platform-as-a-service.

Cummings seeks more info on KeyPoint data breach

KeyPoint Government Solutions, the background check firm under contract with the federal government, was hit by a punishing data breach reported in December 2014, in which information on more than 48,000 federal workers may have been compromised. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is seeking more details from the firm on the extent of the breach, the source of the attacks, continued vulnerabilities and past breaches.

"The increasing number and apparent sophistication of cyber attacks against companies tasked with conducting background checks for the U.S. government poses a clear and present danger to our nation's security," Cummings wrote in a Jan. 6 letter to KeyPoint CEO Eric Hess.

The firm USIS, KeyPoint's predecessor as the leading provider of background checks for the federal government, was also hit by a data breach -- that one reported in August 2014, and in which personal information on as many as 25,000 feds may have been compromised. Cummings is seeking answers to his questions and a briefing from a KeyPoint security officer by the end of January.

Former HHS cyber chief sentenced in child porn case

Timothy DeFoggi, the Department of Health and Human Services' former acting director of cybersecurity, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison on Jan. 5 for engaging in various child pornography offenses via his membership in a Tor-network-based child pornography website, according to the Justice Department.

DeFoggi was convicted Aug. 26 on the child porn charges.

"Using the same technological expertise he employed as acting director of cybersecurity at HHS, DeFoggi attempted to sexually exploit children and traffic in child pornography through an anonymous computer network of child predators,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a Justice Department statement.

During DeFoggi's trial, prosecutors presented evidence that showed he registered as a member of the Tor-network-based child pornography website on March 2, 2012, and maintained his membership and activity until Dec. 8, 2012, when the website was taken down by the FBI. The website’s users, said the Justice Department, exploited advanced technological measures to thwart law enforcement’s attempts to identify them, including passing on advice to other participants on how to encrypt and hide online child porn collections.

White House losing top tech execs

Executive Office of the President CIO Karen Britton has left her role to join previous employer e-Management as senior vice president and chief operating officer, the company said Jan. 6.

Britton has been EOP CIO for the past two years, and prior to that she served as deputy CIO for three years.

Federal News Radio also reported that Deputy CIO Alissa Johnson will be transitioning out of her White House role in the coming months, although where she will be going is still undetermined. Johnson has been at the EOP for nearly three years. She previously held senior roles at Lockheed Martin, McClendon Corp. and Eagle Alliance.

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