New project shines light on VA mismanagement, Windows 8.1 RTM leaks to Internet and more

August 30, 2013
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vaHere are the top cyber news and stories of the day.

  • New project shines light on VA mismanagement – ‘Jeff Miller, chairman of the House veterans affairs committee, launched the VA Accountability Watch, an extension of Veterans.House.Gov, to highlight VA’s “growing pattern of rewarding failure.”‘ The VA has been identified as rewarding managers in charge of terrible programs, and this project is hoping to put publicly shame the agency away from these bonuses. There is often some glacial movement in government to not highlight failures (for fear of reprisal) but the bonuses and perfect performance reviews doled out like candy by the VA have to stop. Via FedScoop, more here.
  • Windows 8.1 RTM leaks to Internet – “Windows 8.1′s RTM, which Microsoft announced on Tuesday, has leaked to file-sharing sites, according to numerous forum postings and blog reports.” Microsoft had been pushing really hard to keep their 8.1 release locked down, but a Chinese-language version burst forth the other day. Users interested in grabbing this software ought to be extra careful. I’d suggest no one download and install, because of the definite concern for malware hidden in the world. The release of this software just highlights the need for stronger, more secure supply chains. Via ComputerWorld, more here.
  • Facebook Hijacked to Spread Chrome, Firefox Browser Malware – ‘Facebook is being used to spread malware again, this time through messages claiming to be from friends wanting to share videos. The “video link” of course opens a door for hackers to hijack users’ Facebook accounts and web browsers.’ This just highlights that any platform can be co-opted to spread malware. Facebook has been a host for scam videos since its duration, which tells me that Facebook needs to be more prolific at protecting users. Via Infosecurity, more here.
  • Open security isn’t just software, say government open source advocates – “Open source advocates within government say the many eyeballs approach to creating software functionality can extend to improving system cybersecurity.” The idea behind open source security is that collaboration helps build a better (and more invested) security paradigm. This is more of a strategic approach to security, rather than a selection of tactical tools in the cyber landscape. Via FierceGovernmentIT, more here.
  • Akamai global network receives FedRAMP security approval – “Akamai has been granted provisional approval to offer cloud services under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) cloud security program, becoming the first provider of its kind to achieve the highest security level under the program, according to company officials.” Every large provider certified by the system allows agencies more  choice to select the optimal cloud provider for their needs. As this catalog grows, we may start to see interoperabilities and ‘leading practices’ identified by successful cloud deployments in the federal space. Via Government Computer News, more here.
  • Banking Trojans dominate malware in e-mail traffic – “The percentage of spam in email traffic in July was up only 0.1 percentage points and averaged at 71.2 per cent, according to Kaspersky Lab.” I don’t understand people who open spam mail, and do not aggressively mark as spam if it somehow passed their spam filter. The amount of Banking Trojans is because they are successful, so users need to get smarter. Via Net Security, more here.
  • Army, Air Force: Sharing upgraded routers will save billions – “The Army, Air Force and Defense Information Systems Agency have agreed to share and upgrade routers, which the Defense Department says will increase speeds, security and save the services more than $1 billion in future costs.” As our agencies have to adapt to shrinking budgets, any cost savings (or sharing) will be beneficial. By using the same routers (to do very similar work) the Army and Navy can cut out overhead costs. DISA also believes these routers will offer value-added speed and performance gains. Via FedScoop, more here.