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Implementing Cyber Security Solutions in the Government

Federal agencies are targeted by ransomware attacks

According to the Department of Homeland Security, ransomware attacks are increasingly targeting U.S. critical infrastructure, including telecommunications networks and energy production and transmission facilities. Attacks on these critical systems threaten national security, economic stability, and public health. In the Washington, DC area, the biggest targets for ransomware attacks are local government agencies.

Ransomware incidents against local governments are especially disruptive because they disrupt emergency operations and public services. Additionally, these attacks compromise personal data and strain financial resources. They also put residents at risk of exploitation. One ransomware attack caused a U.S. county to shut down all of its public offices, affecting the safety of its citizens. In addition, the ransomware disabled surveillance cameras, data collection capabilities, and even automated doors.

Ransomware attacks have also targeted hospitals and healthcare facilities in the United States. A recent joint advisory from the federal government, FBI, and the Department of Health and Human Services warned that ransomware attacks pose an imminent threat to healthcare organizations and hospitals, and urged these organizations to take steps to protect their networks. Scarlett Cybersecurity helps in countering attacks like this and offers cyber security solutions for local government.

In addition to K-12 organizations, K-12 schools are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks. With schools increasingly moving to online learning, ransomware attacks have become an ongoing concern. The Baltimore County Public School district, for example, suffered a ransomware attack last fall. It published stolen data online, which led the school district to create an Office of Cybersecurity.

The House and Senate have both passed a bill that requires critical infrastructure owners and operators to report any cybersecurity incident within 72 hours. Essentially, ransomware is defined as extortion-based attacks that prevent access to computer systems. This law is intended to help mitigate the threat of ransomware attacks on government systems.

Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a good way to limit the amount of access that a hacker can have to a system. It also helps prevent the use of duplicate passwords. According to a Ponemon report, 51% of survey respondents did not assess third-party security practices or identify the individuals who have access to their systems. This technology requires a user to provide more than one authentication factor, such as a biometric or physical object.

Multi-factor authentication is compatible with single-sign-on and can be configured to meet individual needs. It is an excellent choice for enterprises looking to accelerate their digital transformation. But while the solution is easy to implement, it does require two different forms of authentication. This means that an enterprise should program the MFA solution for internal employees as well as external vendors, and grant appropriate access to external vendors.

Multi-factor authentication helps ensure that people are who they say they are. It also helps control access to sensitive information, keeping it out of the wrong hands. For example, the recent SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline security breaches could have been prevented with multi-factor authentication. A good Managed IT Services provider can perform a comprehensive security audit on any organization’s systems and make sure that Multi-Factor Authentication is configured to prevent such attacks.

Multi-factor authentication is one of the most effective controls available to prevent access by adversaries. This system prevents a hacker from using the same password over again, making it much more difficult for an attacker to access the system.

Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) initiative

The Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) program is designed to modernize and secure the network and perimeter security of Federal agencies. The current version of TIC has limitations, and the new TIC 3.0 initiative will add flexibility and frameworks for the efficient use of government IT resources. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in partnership with the General Services Administration, OMB, and other agencies, has identified seven strategic goals for modernizing TIC.

The TIC initiative began in 2007 with a memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In 2009, it was expanded to include branch offices, remote users, and service providers. It is also envisioned as flexible and extensible to accommodate future entities. The original TIC initiative was intended to improve federal network perimeter security and incident response functions. Its goal was to identify specific patterns and behavioral anomalies in network traffic. To achieve this goal, agencies were mandated to consolidate their external network connections and route traffic through EINSTEIN devices.

The TIC initiative has been a significant step toward cybersecurity in the government. While the TIC program began by consolidating the network connections of federal agencies, it has evolved to leverage modern cybersecurity technologies and practices. This version, referred to as TIC 3.0, is highly iterative and recognizes the shifting trends in modern cybersecurity.

The TIC program is being piloted by the Department of Homeland Security. It uses commercial and specialized government technology to detect and respond to cyber threats. This new technology will be used in federal networks and civilian systems.

National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC)

Implementing cyber security solutions in the government requires a coordinated effort across departments and agencies. These agencies must share data on malicious activity and protected information to better understand the potential threat to government systems. They must also improve collaboration by sharing technology and procedures. A coordinated approach to cybersecurity will improve the government’s speed and agility in procuring and implementing new cybersecurity technologies.

OMB is a key player in the implementation of cybersecurity in the government. It holds agencies accountable for their implementation of information security policies. It also appoints a National Cyber Director who will coordinate cybersecurity policy and operations across the executive branch. Ultimately, this role will coordinate the government’s efforts to respond to cyber-related threats.

Multi-factor authentication is a key component of effective cybersecurity. It requires a user to provide three pieces of evidence, including a username and password, as well as a just-in-time physical token to gain access to a system. It can prevent costly cyber breaches by making it impossible for hackers to gain access to a compromised system. In addition to preventing costly breaches, multi-factor authentication helps prevent sophisticated cyber threats.

The DHS is implementing NSA-developed EINSTEIN 3 capabilities to help protect Federal networks from cyber threats. The new system will integrate specialized government and commercial technologies to conduct real-time full packet inspection (FPI) and threat-based decision-making on network traffic. These technologies will detect malicious traffic and automatically respond.

Implementing cybersecurity solutions in the government requires adequate technical expertise. It requires coordination among government agencies, the private sector, and cybersecurity experts. A national agency typically has the authority to determine the scope of control for a cybersecurity program and then partner with other government entities to provide the necessary expertise and technology.

Trusted Internet Connections

Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) is a federal cybersecurity initiative designed to improve network and data security across the government. The initiative is overseen by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the General Services Administration (GSA). The TIC program provides guidance and execution frameworks that help federal agencies improve cybersecurity. The initiative aims to consolidate and standardize the perimeter security of federal networks.

The TIC program has become a vital resource for government agencies. TICs enable secure remote work for federal employees, thereby securing sensitive government data. The TIC initiative was first announced by the Office of Management and Budget in 2007 and is currently being implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. The TIC program serves as the secure gateway between federal networks and cloud-based applications.

The next phase of Trusted Internet is EINSTEIN 3, which uses both commercial and government technologies to identify and characterize malicious network traffic. It uses real-time full packet inspection (FPI) and threat-based decision-making (TBDM) on network traffic to detect cyber threats and automatically respond.

To make sure that trusted internet connections are reliable, the FCC works closely with ISPs to address vulnerabilities and strengthen security. They also have a close relationship with industry to create industry-wide security best practices. The CIR’s working group of academics, communications industry leaders, and public safety entities has developed voluntary industry-wide best practices for securing networks.