Federal Security holes going unpatched

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Security holes going unpatched BY Diane Frank 06/02/2000 MORE INFO

The Top 10 list: How To Eliminate The Ten Most Critical Internet Security Threats


The CIO Council is asking every federal chief information officer to find and fix the lapses that made a top 10 list of critical Internet security threats.

The list, released Thursday, includes problems that have solutions, but the solutions have not been put in place by federal systems administrators. So agency World Web Web sites keep getting hacked, and agencies keep ending up in the news after being hit by attacks that should not have happened, said Allan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, a group of federal, industry and academic experts that coordinated the list.

The CIO Councils Security, Privacy and Critical Infrastructure Committee is sending the list to all federal CIOs with a memorandum asking them to take immediate action, said John Gilligan, CIO at the Energy Department and co-chairman of the committee.

"Our intent is, "This is not a one-shot [deal where] were going to fix everything. The intent is to begin the process," Gilligan said.

It also will help CIOs and systems administrators answer a common question from management, Gilligan said: "The question that is asked often after an investigation, after an audit, is, "Why is it that we continue to have these problems? It seems so simple."

The top 10 list will change as new vulnerabilities are discovered and new attacks are made, so simply listing the top vulnerabilities and threats will not make every agency more secure. However, the review it starts will be "enormously valuable," Gilligan said.

"Its not that all of the vulnerabilities have been summarized in the top 10, although many of them have, but it gives us a place to start beginning to fix the problems and also to define our processes," he said


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), June 02, 2000

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