COVID-19 News: April 29

DHS, VA Partner on COVID-19 Relief

The Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Homeland Security (DHS) announced that they are continuing to work very closely together on bringing medical supplies to veterans and their doctors amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The agencies are working with private sector partners to ensure access to personal protective equipment. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, within DHS, has already coordinated shipments of 4.3 million respirator masks, one million facial masks, 1.5 million gloves, and 14,000 face shields to VA facilities. VA has made 1,500 hospital beds in its facilities available to non-veterans.

CenturyLink Extends Pledge Launched by FCC

CenturyLink has extended its Keep Americans Connected Pledge that was launched by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai on March 13. In a press release, CenturyLink noted the importance of keeping customers connected during the COVID-19 pandemic and have said that they will waive late fees, not terminate a residential or small business customer’s service through June 30, and will be suspending data usage limits for residential customers.

Internet Security Alliance Urges Feds to Share Risk Management Best Practices

The Internet Security Alliance (ISA) is urging Federal officials to “quickly” share risk management best practices with businesses. In a statement released April 27, ISA said that the shift to telework due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to “insecure work-arounds that emphasize functionality over security, while managers in many businesses lack training suitable to the current risk environment.” To help businesses strengthen their cybersecurity, ISA told the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) that the Federal government “needs to provide immediate managerial best practices on a ubiquitous basis to contain the cyber risk from growing exponentially.”

ISA noted that since mid-March CISA has issued guidance on essential workers as states and localities implement stay-at-home orders and has been sharing risk-management tools. “The private sector could be greatly supported by government-developed tools to help organizations get a better picture of their network exposure and supply chain risk,” ISA said. “Government can support such moves either directly or through alignments with the private sector. Systems and tools initially designed for military operations, which assume mobile operations that need to be secured, may need to be aggressively ‘lent’ or transitioned to the private sector.” The industry group continued, “The government should facilitate the adoption of multifactor authentication, as it is the single most important control for all critical business systems such as e-mail, databases, OT/ICS systems, VPNs/remote access points, etc.”

Jordan Smith
About Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.

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