Wednesday, September 17, 2008

GAO reports on cyber security

Given the emphasis on cyber security at SIS, this report from the US GAO is relevant. This report, also released today, is quite a bit stronger. Quoting the latter report:

While US-CERT’s cyber analysis and warning capabilities include aspects of each of the key attributes, they do not fully incorporate all of them. For example, as part of its monitoring, US-CERT obtains information from numerous external information sources; however, it has not established a baseline of our nation’s critical network assets and operations. In addition, while it investigates if identified anomalies constitute actual cyber threats or attacks as part of its analysis, it does not integrate its work into predictive analyses. Further, it provides warnings by developing and distributing a wide array of notifications; however, these notifications are not consistently actionable or timely.

US-CERT faces a number of newly identified and ongoing challenges that impede it from fully incorporating the key attributes and thus being able to coordinate the national efforts to prepare for, prevent, and respond to cyber threats. The newly identified challenge is creating warnings that are consistently actionable and timely. Ongoing challenges that GAO previously identified, and made recommendations to address, include employing predictive analysis and operating without organizational stability and leadership within DHS, including possible overlapping roles and responsibilities. Until US-CERT addresses these challenges and fully incorporates all key attributes, it will not have the full complement of cyber analysis and warning capabilities essential to effectively performing its national mission.

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