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FCW : May 30, 2015
The Department of Veterans Affairs is an increasingly popular target for hackers and cyber criminals. Attempts to in ltrate VA networks or ship mal- ware to VA employees and contrac- tors via phishing email messages are growing exponentially, according to data released by the agency. There were more than 350 million attempts to in ltrate VA networks in March 2015, up from 15 million in November 2014. VA blocked almost 1.2 billion pieces of malware in March, up from 300 million six months ago. CIO Steph Warren said the depart- ment risks being overwhelmed if attacks continue to grow at the cur- rent rate. VA has been releasing top- line numbers on cyber infiltration attempts in recent months, so there is a clearer picture of the threats facing VA than those facing other agencies. But Warren told reporters in April that "there is lots and lots of interest, and we are not the only ones seeing this kind of interest." "We hope there is some apprecia- tion of the level of threat that is com- ing at these organizations," he added. VA uses the Einstein network pro- tection system run by the Department of Homeland Security, and Warren VA sees sharp uptick in cyberattacks of U.S. voters think cyberattack prevention should be Congress' top IT priority 40% Trending said VA of cials were "aggressively taking advantage" of new features being added to the Einstein toolkit. He also said VA's tech employees are taking a harder line with col- leagues who open phishing mes- sages and click on attachments from unknown senders. Doing so typically gets the employee a chat on proper email precautions and cyber hygiene from an IT staffer that includes an explanation of what could happen if a rogue program were permitted to infect the system. VA's defenses in combination with Einstein have blocked inbound intru- sion attempts, but Warren stressed that the volume of attacks presented an urgent threat. "Six months ago, I could not have projected that we would be seeing this volume, this intensity of attacks," he said. Meanwhile, VA of cials are consid- ering how they might move some of their data and operations to commer- cial cloud environments. Warren said Of ce of Information and Technology staff and representatives from across VA --- including the general counsel and Of ce of Inspector General --- are meeting to develop a cloud comput- ing strategy. A previous plan to move VA email to an HP cloud was scut- tled because VA's OIG objected to the records retention schedules contained in the cloud deal. Warren said he hoped to develop a plan to move high- and medium- security apps and data to the cloud. "We're not looking for a consensus solution," he said. Instead, he wants to clear potential hurdles to moving to the cloud and address objections as they come up. Warren said he hoped to see a rst draft of the cloud strategy within 30 days. --- Adam Mazmanian FCW CALENDAR Cloud FedRAMP Director Matthew Goodrich will discuss removing barriers to agency cloud adoption and (ISC)²'s Dan Waddell will explore evolving threats to cloud security. Washington, D.C. fcw.com/CloudSecurity Acquisition GSA's Mary Davie, NASA's Joanne Woytek and NIH's Michelle Street are among the many speakers at the Federal IT Acquisition Summit. Washington, D.C. fcw.com/Events/FIAS/ 6/10 6/2 May 30, 2015 FCW.COM 3 NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN Nominations for the 2015 Rising Star awards are now being accepted. Learn more at fcw.com/2015risingstars. "Six months ago, I could not have projected that we would be seeing this volume, this intensity of attacks. " --- STEPH WARREN, VA
May 15, 2015
June 15, 2015