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

  • FCW PERSPECTIVES
    sensor network (agsandrew/Shutterstock.com)

    Are agencies really ready for EIS?

    The telecom contract has the potential to reinvent IT infrastructure, but finding the bandwidth to take full advantage could prove difficult.

  • People
    Dave Powner, GAO

    Dave Powner audits the state of federal IT

    The GAO director of information technology issues is leaving government after 16 years. On his way out the door, Dave Powner details how far govtech has come in the past two decades and flags the most critical issues he sees facing federal IT leaders.

  • FCW Illustration.  Original Images: Shutterstock, Airbnb

    Should federal contracting be more like Airbnb?

    Steve Kelman believes a lighter touch and a bit more trust could transform today's compliance culture.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.