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How Using Advanced Analytics Can Protect Borders

By Ricky D. Sluder // August 25, 2017

A Border Patrol agent uses a headset and computer to conduct a long distance interview by video from a facility in San Diego.
A Border Patrol agent uses a headset and computer to conduct a long distance interview by video from a facility in San Diego. // Gregory Bull/AP File Photo

Ricky D. Sluder, certified fraud examiner, is a principal solution architect in the Security Intelligence Practice at SAS.

From President Donald Trump’s push for immigration reform to the continued discussion of building a wall along the Mexican border, immigration has been one of the most hotly debated issues on Capitol Hill and family dining room tables alike.

Regardless of where you stand on the immigration issue, one thing remains the same: Our government agencies need to be able to accurately vet anyone that comes into the country no matter what rules our lawmakers put in place.

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While the immigration issue may boil down to some as the ability to differentiate the good people from the bad, in reality, it is about data. With accurate data, immigration and border control agents can quickly, effectively and accurately make determinations about a person’s identity. Without that information, chances for errors increase, potentially resulting in misidentification an individual who has the proper paperwork to enter the country or admitting someone who does not meet the government’s standards.

Big Data vs. Relevant Data

The government, along...

Lessons from the First Phases of Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Program

By (ISC)² U.S. Government Advisory Council Executive Writers Bureau // August 22, 2017

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Patrick D. Howard, CISSP, CISM, Kratos Technology & Training Solutions, was lead author of this peer-reviewed article.

With the advent of the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Program in August 2013, the Homeland Security Department committed to improving the security of U.S. civilian government information systems by expanding agency-level continuous monitoring and response capabilities.

Since its inception, the goal of this $6 billion initiative has been to improve the cybersecurity posture of federal civilian government agencies by helping them increase visibility of their hardware and software assets and security vulnerabilities to allow them to make faster and more informed risk-based decisions. However, despite the recognized value of CDM and in light of recent, highly publicized attacks on their agencies, to date only a few have implemented CDM requirements.   

On May 15, DHS reported in a briefing to industry that 24 major and roughly 40 small agencies were engaged in implementing CDM Phase 1 (“What is on the network?”) and CDM Phase 2 (“Who is on the network?”) requirements. Current plans are for these agencies to transition to operational status by the end of fiscal 2018, almost five years after CDM Program initiation.  

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Feds Can Counter Java Headaches with Virtualization

By John Breeden II // August 21, 2017

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John Breeden II is an award-winning journalist and reviewer with over 20 years of experience covering technology. He is the CEO of the Tech Writers Bureau, a group that creates technological thought leadership content for organizations of all sizes. Twitter: @LabGuys

Java is one of the most useful programming languages within government but it’s also one of the most vulnerable.

Many of the highest profile, successful attacks had a Java vulnerability as their launching point—not just in government but across organizations of all sizes. By comparison, Flash had similar problems but had such a light footprint in government that the solution was simply to purge it from federal computers. You can’t do that with Java, as it’s far too entrenched at agencies and makes up the lifeblood of many critical systems and applications.

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So how do you solve a problem like Java? First off, you need to understand how Java is configured. Java applications are divided up into two components. You have the baseline Java 8 or 9 stack that hosts the application and provides the garbage collector process. It...

Creating a Rosetta Stone is the Key to Successful Public-Private Partnerships

August 15, 2017

Nong Mars/Shutterstock.com

Praduman Jain is CEO of Vibrent Health.

Public-private partnerships, used by a variety of state, local and federal governments for decades, have gained popularity in recent years as an effective approach to managing large government projects while mitigating financial risk, increasing innovation and delivering long-term value.

A healthy, functional government-industry partnership can be an excellent solution for addressing the unique challenges of government agencies that are constantly pushed to do more with less. But executing a successful public-private partnership is a complex and demanding process—in part because it often feels like the key stakeholders are speaking different languages.

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Establishing effective partnerships requires common ground: a framework that brings together the disparate languages of industry and government and puts stakeholders on the same page. If this critical step is overlooked, the partnership is likely doomed before it even begins.

The first step to forming a successful partnership is to come equipped with the right frame of mind. Partners need to understand each other’s values and interests in order to build a solid foundation for working together, and transition their individual missions and goals...

How Government Agencies Can Protect Their Social Media Accounts—And Employees

By Jaime Stein // August 14, 2017

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Jaime Stein is the industry principal for government at Hootsuite.

Government employees are facing an interesting dilemma. They're trying to meet citizen demands for more personal forms of engagement with government. Yet, when they adopt social media channels to do this, they open themselves up to public feedback and criticism.

As a public official, do they have the right to block users who insult them or post scathing comments publicly? Apparently not. In July, the American Civil Liberties Union asked Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to stop blocking people from following his social media accounts; Michigan state government accounts were reported to have blocked more than 800 Twitter handles, including @POTUS; and the El Paso Police Department's public affairs staff blocked users from the department’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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This culminated recently when a federal court judge ruled against a Virginia official who banned a user from accessing her Facebook page. The results of this case pose serious consequences that could reach as far as the White House—a similar suit has been filed against President Donald Trump with regards to his...