Browsing: Information Technology

Marine Corps looks to DISA, industry to slash mobile costs

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The Marine Corps is testing new capabilities it hopes will cut mobile computing costs in half. The service is working with Verizon, Sprint and AT&T on a small beta program to test the feasibility of wireless carriers managing the security of mobile devices, based on Marine Corps policies and standards. The devices will be managed using a dual persona solution, which will allow the carriers to manage government data and applications but not personal use of the phone by military and civilian users. “If the beta goes well and we prove the technical requirements that need to be employed, then…

Labor app to track companies' workplace conditions

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The Labor Department wants to make it easier for consumers to track which businesses are treating their workers fairly. Labor announced an app development contest Tuesday that it hopes will “help empower consumers to make informed choices about where to bring their business,” according to an agency news release. The smartphone app will include Labor’s publicly available enforcement data, data from consumer ratings and geopositioning websites and other data available through state health boards. “The app could also prove a useful tool for job seekers and for companies that are deciding which firms they may want to do business with,”…

App security, identity management top mobile challenges for agencies

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More than a year after the administration released its digital strategy to speed adoption of secure mobile devices, agencies are still grappling with standards for vetting the security of internal and commercial mobile apps. Today, there isn’t a federal standard for securing mobile apps, but government officials are hopeful a process will be created similar to what’s in place for vetting cloud products and services used in the government. “In order for an app that’s developed by DHS to be put in a DoD app store there’s going to have to be some level of assurance,” said Robert Palmer, director…

GSA IG uncovers Craigslist computer scheme

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An undercover investigation by the General Services Administration’s watchdog office has  traced second-hand computer equipment originally costing the U.S. government about $25 million to more than a dozen sham educational organizations and, ultimately, back to one man: Steven Alexander Bolden. Federal prosecutors in Tacoma, Wash., earlier this month filed fraud charges against Bolden, saying he tricked the government into believing he represented schools and thus was eligible for access to GSA’s Computers for Learning program. Under the program, agencies, as permitted by law, can transfer surplus computers and technology equipment to schools and nonprofit educational groups. The investigation, which was…

TSP Board withholding results of security review prompted by 2011 hacking attack

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Last year, following the disclosure that 123,000 Thrift Savings Plan accounts had been hacked, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board launched a wide-ranging assessment of its computer system security. That “Tiger Team” task force review is now complete, but the board isn’t making the findings public. Instead, the agency is withholding the entire report on the grounds that disclosure “could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law,”  Amanda Haas, a Freedom of Information Act officer with the board, said in a response today to Federal Times’ FOIA request. Haas did not immediately reply to a request for more information…

DHS says Spires' departure not linked to CIO authority issues

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The Department of Homeland Security is keeping tight-lipped about the details surrounding the resignation of its former chief information officer, which it says was not prompted by disagreements over authority issues. In April, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano asking why the department CIO Richard Spires was placed on voluntary or non voluntary leave, who made the final decision regarding his leave and additional information about the current acting CIO. In a May 13 response, the department’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs, Nelson Peacock, said personnel and…

Amazon gets federal cloud certification

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Amazon Web Services is the latest vendor to pass a rigorous security review for all federal cloud products and services. So far, only CGI Federal and North Carolina-based Autonomic Resources have completed the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). The governmentwide program was launched in June to standardize security reviews of commercial cloud products and is housed within the General Services Administration. Under the FedRAMP program, Amazon was granted an Authority to Operate (ATO) by the Health and Human Services Department. This means HHS has certified that Amazon’s GovCloud and regional cloud service offerings meet federal security standards, and the company’s services are…

Agencies challenged to balance data sharing and security, experts say

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Agencies are on the hook to publicly release more digital data in a way that protects citizen’s personal information and does not comprise government security. One challenge, however, will be determining how that data could be combined with existing public data to identify an individual or pose other security risks to agencies, according to experts speaking at ACT-IAC’s annual Management of Change conference this week. “The awareness is there, the concern is there, [but] the practice of it is relatively immature,” said Mike Howell, deputy program manager in the Office of the Program Manager of the Information Sharing Environment. “The…

GSA to launch cloud broker pilot

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The General Services Administration is moving forward with plans to stand up a cloud broker contract for acquiring and managing the performance of federal cloud services. The Department of Homeland Security is one of two agencies that has committed to testing GSA’s cloud broker model in a pilot program expected to launch this fall, said GSA’s Mark Day. Speaking Monday at the annual Management of Change conference in Maryland, Day said GSA will award one contract to test the concept of a broker model and reevaluate the pilot by year’s end to determine how it could be expanded. GSA has not yet defined…

When late isn't really late

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On Nov. 27, 2012, at 3:38 p.m., an employee at Insight Systems Corp., which was bidding on a health services contract, submitted a revised quote to two employees inside the U.S. Agency for International Development. The deadline for doing so was 5 p.m. The message reached the first of three agency-controlled servers at 3:41 p.m., but then it got stuck. And it wasn’t until 5:18 p.m. that the email reached the first USAID employee, while the second employee didn’t receive the message until 5:57 p.m. Around the same time, an employee at another company, CenterScope, which was submitting its own…

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