The United States needs to invest more resources in the security of election systems, Cook County (Ill.) Director of Elections Noah Praetz told the Election Assistance Commission.






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The National Security Agency gave Columbus State University in Georgia a $174,000 grant to develop a cybersecurity training tool. “We are building a tool that people across the nation can use to develop cybersecurity training, which guarantees compliance with government and industry standards for cybersecurity workforce development,” said Shuangbao “Paul” Wang, a professor in CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science.






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DHS S&T announced Aug. 14 that it was awarding Metronome Software nearly $750,000 to strengthen the security of first responder sensor systems. Metronome Software, a software research and development company focused on working for the U.S. government, is  developing a technology to improve the security of first responders’ mobile device-based sensor systems.






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Software patching can never be done quickly enough, but some initiatives are setting Federal agencies on the route to better patching policies, according to security experts. “The river’s gotten wider and deeper, and so as it’s moving more rapidly the problem is that a lot of the organizations haven’t been able to change how they’re structured to go with it,” said John Scott, president of Ion Channel. “Most organizations aren’t equipped to deal with it.”






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Demand for cybersecurity personnel is ever increasing, and cyber teams could benefit from a broad range of skills beyond the typical technical employees, according to experts who spoke at New America’s Embracing Innovation and Diversity in Cybersecurity event.






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The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education recently released a Cybersecurity Workforce Framework that establishes a consistent vocabulary for recruiting and hiring cybersecurity talent.






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The Air Force chief information security officer offered unusual advice to new security professionals: Don’t worry about every patch and vulnerability. “It’s OK if you can’t get to 800 controls,” said Peter Kim. “It’s OK if you miss a patch.”






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Following the Cybersecurity Executive Order, security professionals are focusing on risk management frameworks, and some agencies are turning to the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Program. “Security is not something that you buy, it’s something that you do,” said Matt Conner of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.






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The U.S. Cyber Command will begin to exercise its newly granted acquisition authority by the end of 2017 with its first industry day on Oct. 27. Congress gave CYBERCOM its own ability to purchase technology capabilities in order to keep up with the constantly changing nature of the cybersecurity sphere. CYBERCOM plans to hold its industry day at the Arthur Lundahl Conference Center in Springfield, Va.






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The designation of the nation’s election systems as critical infrastructure will not infringe upon state and local authority to run elections. In a recent memo to Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Members, Ranking Member Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., relayed communications from the Department of Homeland Security that reiterated that fact.






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A Senate bill introduced on Aug. 1 not only would establish security requirements for Internet of Things (IoT) devices purchased by the government, but also let researchers look for critical security flaws through vulnerability disclosure policies.






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The Department of Defense is following the Federal push to move toward an enterprise structure by using Defense Enterprise Office Solution (DEOS), an effort by the Defense Information Systems Agency to acquire Software-as-a-Service at a DoD enterprise scale. DoD plans to move 4.5 million users to the cloud, using this approach.






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Christopher Painter made the case for cyber diplomacy after stepping down as cyber coordinator for the State Department in July. Painter wrote a blog post saying that cyber issues continue to grow, which increases the need for global discussions on cybersecurity. Yet Politico reported that the State Department is considering getting rid of its cybersecurity department.






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The Government Accountability Office evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of the National Security Agency and Cyber Command’s dual-hat leadership system and found that the system causes tension between the two agencies due to competing interests.






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Through its series of summer camps and competitions, the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot program is aiming to expand the cybersecurity workforce for both the public and private sector. “What they have learned is if they wait until someone is a college graduate, it’s too late, if they wait until they’re in college, it’s too late,” said CyberPatriot National Commissioner Bernie Skoch.






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The best way for agencies to begin their transition to the cloud is to talk to agencies that have been through the same experience. “It’s always good to talk to people who have gone through it,” said Craig McCullough, vice president of Commvault Federal.






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Incorporating automation into the U.S. electric grid can both improve recovery capabilities in the event of an outage and present new cybersecurity dangers, according to a recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report.






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