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Hardly Winded, Administration’s ‘Cyber Sprint’ Presses On

U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott is clear-eyed about the vulnerabilities of government computers “where antiquated systems and processes are still pervasive” in the face of sophisticated hacking operations, often state-sponsored. 

Scott’s role in the federal government is to be the administrator of the Office of Electronic Government, which in turn is part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

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So he’s emphasizing the Administration’s strategy to enhance cybersecurity, outlining efforts in the wake of the embarrassing OPM breach.

Related: OPM Data Breach Hits Total of 22.1 Million Victims; Agency Director Resigns

The OMB launched a 30-day Cybersecurity Sprint in June aimed at assessing and improving all federal networks—no small undertaking.

“Agencies were instructed to immediately patch critical vulnerabilities, review and tightly limit the number of privileged users with access to authorized systems, and dramatically accelerate the use of strong authentication, especially for privileged users,” Scott wrote in a blog post.

According to Scott, agencies made significant strides in strong authentication. In fact, three agencies—Transportation, Veterans Affairs, and the Interior—have implemented strong authentication for more than 90 percent of privileged users.

With the Cybersecurity Sprint complete, participants have changed their running shoes to focus on the marathon before them.

According to Scott, the team includes more than 100 experts from government and private industry who are now leading a review of the Federal Government’s cybersecurity policies, procedures, and practices.  

They aim to develop strategies and to prioritize tactics to combat cyber attacks.

Looking to the future, President Obama’s 2016 Budget proposes $14 billion to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity defenses. With millions of Americans’ personal information already stolen from the federal government in the past year, the initiative is too late for current government workers, contractors and their family members. The goal is to protect future employees and state secrets.

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