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FCW Insider: May 29

NSA warns Russian hackers exploited email flaw

Russian hackers have exploited a longstanding vulnerability in a critical software program used by more than half of email servers worldwide, according to an advisory from the National Security Agency. The spy agency took the unusual step of ascribing the use of the exploit to the Sandworm group that is part of Russia's military intelligence agency. Adam Mazmanian has more.

Karen Evans to be next DHS CIO

The longtime federal IT leader will be the first permanent CIO at the Department of Homeland Security since John Zangardi departed to take a position with Leidos. Derek B. Johnson reports.

Could personnel swaps help solve DOD's AI talent problem?

Talent and training are some of the biggest challenges in artificial intelligence strategy. But what can DOD workers learn from if they embed with private companies? Lauren C. Williams takes a look.

NSA's cyber wing looks to safeguard COVID research and expand outreach

The spy agency's deputy director said its new cyber directorate is focused on protecting vaccine research from hackers and supporting activities that help get Americans back to work. Derek explains.

Quick Hits

*** The Government Accountability Office is advising that the Office of Special Counsel require whistleblowers to disclosure whether they are probationary or permanent employees when filing complaints. According to a May 28 report, GAO said existing data was insufficient to determine whether whistleblowers with probationary status were fired at lower, comparable or higher rates than permanent employees. GAO indicated that data suggested that overall whistleblowers were fired at higher than typical rates.

In his reply, Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner said that the data GAO is seeking won't yield the direct comparison the oversight agency is seeking because probationers are typically terminated at higher rates as a feature of the civil service system, and that more inputs would be needed to develop a meaningful comparison between the terminations of whistleblowers on probationary status and those with permanent status.

*** A pandemic response report from a leading trade group urges the government to designate IT workers as essential components of the public and private sector workforce during stay-at-home orders and to focus on cloud, affordable bandwidth and support for remote work. BSA/The Software Alliance released its Response and Recovery Agenda on May 27. The recommendations, the group said, will help maintain the essential IT services that are relied upon by hospitals, governments and first responders as well as the businesses and public sector organizations that have been able to extend remote work to their employees to help support the management of the pandemic.

Posted by FCW Staff on May 29, 2020 at 2:18 AM


  • Cybersecurity
    Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff)

    Mayorkas announces cyber 'sprints' on ransomware, ICS, workforce

    The Homeland Security secretary announced a series of focused efforts to address issues around ransomware, critical infrastructure and the agency's workforce that will all be launched in the coming weeks.

  • IT Modernization
    Blue Signage and logo of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

    VA plans 'strategic review' of $16B software program

    New Veterans Affairs chief Denis McDonough announced a "strategic review" of the agency's Electronic Health Record Modernization program of up to 12 weeks.

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