DOE Department of Energy Building

The Department of Energy Office of Inspector General released a report on Oct. 19 that found several weaknesses in the cybersecurity program at DoE in fiscal year 2018, including recurring issues in vulnerability management, patching, and formal cybersecurity training policies.

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Max Everett DoE CIO Department of Energy chief information officer

Department of Energy (DoE) CIO Max Everett said the agency’s Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) project is helping to align the activities of DoE’s wide range of labs and offices, and that the TMF process has helped DoE learn to prioritize all of its future IT projects around cost efficiency and business case.

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Karen Evans

The Department of Energy’s new office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) has already begun work to provide support to the nation’s energy grid and critical infrastructure cybersecurity, and the head of the new office appeared in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday to discuss the role of CESER within DoE.

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Karen Evans

Karen Evans was sworn in Tuesday as assistant secretary of Energy for Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER)–a newly created position at the agency, after the Senate confirmed her nomination last week.

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Karen Evans

The Senate late Tuesday approved by voice vote the nomination of Karen Evans as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER)–a newly created position at the agency.

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Lisa Murkowski

While members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today appeared to be generally positive toward the nomination of Lane Genatowski to be the director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) at the Department of Energy, they also had some sharp questions for the nominee over his stated support for President Trumps’ plan to get rid of the organization.  

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Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., is pressing major electric utility companies for details about whether and when their systems have been penetrated by Russian-affiliated hackers, and at the same time is querying several Federal agencies about what they are doing to help utilities recognize and prevent attempts to break into their networks and control systems.

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Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee sparred today over competing bills that would address online data privacy generally and protection of customer proprietary network information (CPNI) specifically, but appeared to make little headway toward consensus on how to proceed on legislative measures that have languished in the committee since being introduced last year.

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The White House isn’t doing enough to address in a public forum a range of artificial intelligence issues and needs to institute a public process to seek comments on AI-related issues, said a group of six industry groups and more than 80 individuals from academia and the private sector in a July 4 letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

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The Trump administration’s nominees to become head of cybersecurity and Inspector General (IG) at the Department of Energy (DoE) received a largely warm welcome from members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today as the panel held a hearing to consider those and several other DoE nominations.

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report Thursday that found many Federal agencies are not entirely up to speed in classifying members of their cybersecurity workforce, although many of them have traveled well down the road toward compliance.

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Witnesses from the Federal government, academia, and the private sector zeroed in on cyber threats facing the U.S. electric grid at a House Energy subcommittee hearing Thursday afternoon. During the hearing–which largely centered around research and innovations in electric grid and energy technology–all of the witnesses stressed the importance of shoring up the U.S. electric […]

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Federal agencies might not meet the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) data center closure goals, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Based on current projections, only 7,221 of the 12,062 data centers that agencies reported in August 2017 will be closed by September of this year.

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Despite an air of uncertainty coming from the Trump administration, the Department of Energy’s research arm is forging ahead with what it calls “transformational research,” putting up $100 million to try to ensure that it doesn’t miss a trick when it comes to potentially disruptive energy research.

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MeriTalk compiles a weekly roundup of contracts and other industry activity. Here’s what happened this week in the Federal Information Technology community.

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The Government Accountability Office found that 62 percent of major information technology software development investments were certified by the agency chief information officer for using adequate incremental development in fiscal year 2017. However, a number of responses for the remaining investments were incorrectly reported due to agency error.

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The Department of Energy plans to roll out an enterprise risk management framework that would provide cybersecurity data about the agency in one place and enable better information sharing between departments.
“The enemy isn’t a hacker in the basement,” said Micah Czigan, director of the Integrated Joint Cybersecurity Coordination Center for DOE. “The enemy is a world power nation-state.”

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Cybersecurity experts offered solutions to protect the U.S. electric grid, including moving the grid off of the public Internet, and using quantum encryption capabilities. “The nation’s electrical grid is a vital resource upon which our economy and our citizens’ daily lives depend,” said Richard Raines, director of the Electrical and Electronics Systems Research Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “It is also a system that is highly vulnerable to cyber intrusions as more and more utility controls and ‘smart’ technologies rely on public Internet connections.”

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Agencies are looking at ways to secure the edge of their systems in order to support a more mobile workforce. “The edge is where the mission happens,” said Max Everett, CIO of the Department of Energy. “We’re in the midst of a transformation. It’s modernization with a plan.”

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