News in Brief

Botnets and datasets

Keeping up with the botnets

The Justice Department is explaining why White House efforts to update the criminal code to keep up with botnets and cyber criminals are important.

Current law prohibits creation of a botnet because it prohibits hacking into computers without authorization, wrote Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general in Justice's Criminal Division, in a March 17 blog post. Criminals who rent botnets from online sources, however, have found a loophole because "it is not similarly clear that the law prohibits the sale or renting of a botnet."

Botnets are computers that have been compromised by hackers and whose computing power has been secretly tapped for all manner of Internet cybercrime. Cybercriminals rent banks of the computers to other criminals.

On Jan. 12, President Barack Obama unveiled a proposal designed to protect the online privacy and security of American citizens and businesses, and it includes a provision that would change current law to cover rental botnets.

The White House proposal also recommends changing current law to block the sale or transfer not only of "passwords and other information" (the wording of the existing statute) but also of "means of access," which would include the ability to access computers in a botnet.

Philadelphia opens contracts datasets

Philadelphia officials have released procurement data that will let the public more closely track the government's business, GCN reports.

Summaries of the datasets will break down dollars by vendor and contract type and will list the 20 largest contracts and those that are set to expire soon.

About the Author

Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.