Fight for the Future protesters gathered outside the FBI building in Washington, D.C., to stand against a court order that Apple create a program that would allow FBI officials to access the San Bernardino shooters’ phone. Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to comply with the order, creating a standoff between the company and the FBI.

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The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate handed out its first award from the Innovation Other Transaction Solicitation, which encourages nontraditional companies to come up with unusual ideas to protect national cybersecurity.

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Tech Data released Tech Data Cyber Protect, a program aimed at providing subscription-based cybersecurity solutions to cash-strapped government agencies. IBM provides the security software and Tech Dataprovides the services.

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The Defense Department has made two high-profile IT moves — in the same week President Obama announced he would dedicate more than $19 billion to secure Federal IT systems — showing its dedication to cybersecurity and infrastructure.

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President Obama appointed two industry leaders to head his Cybersecurity National Action Plan. Tom Donilon, former National Security Adviser, will serve as the chairman of the committee and Sam Palmisano, former CEO of IBM, will serve as the vice chairman.

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A group of senior IT executives and former CIOs are attempting to direct the presidential candidates’ attention to the urgent needs of IT policy in the Federal government. They released a report, titled “Tech Iconoclasts – Voting for America’s Success in a Network World,” an open letter to the candidates that outlines five key needs in Federal IT and recommends policy to address these needs.

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Alongside the release of the proposed 2017 budget, the White House released its annual Analytical Perspectives of that proposal. MeriTalk spotted five important trends in the IT world and describes how the Federal government plans to address them.

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Encryption was a hot issue this week. FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee about the struggle of both counter-terrorism and law enforcement efforts in accessing information on encrypted devices, such as cellphones. And Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, introduced the ENCRYPT Act as a means of combating the push for decryption.

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The White House is looking to fill the Federal CISO position in the very near future. The posting for the job, which is designed to establish the direction of Federal cybersecurity policy and strategy in accordance with the Federal CIO, closes on Feb. 26.

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President Obama unveiled plans for addressing Federal cybersecurity issues, including a 35% increase in the cybersecurity budget. But Tom Kellermann, Chief Cybersecurity Officer for Trend Micro, worries that the plan is “completely insufficient” to address the cybersecurity needs of the nation.

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Ashkan Soltani, the former CTO at the Federal Trade Commission who joined the White House in December to advise U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, is stepping down after being denied a security clearance. Soltani played an active role in the Washington Post’s reporting on the National Security Agency surveillance programs leaked to the media by Edward Snowden.

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A new report by the Congressional Research Service found flaws in keeping track of the size of Federal agencies, and noted that the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security are having trouble recruiting and training cybersecurity professionals.

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Up against a cyber wall in recent terror attacks, the intelligence community is turning to Magnet Forensics, a Canadian company with software that can recover key digital evidence left by terrorists on cellphones, smartphones and tablets. The intelligence community’s venture capital arm In-Q-Tel on Thursday announced it is investing in the digital forensics software developer […]

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A new Federal agency is in the works to take over the security clearance process from the Office of Personnel Management, according to former intelligence officials with knowledge of the discussions. Word of the plan to create a new National Investigative Service Agency comes as security officials this week are scheduled to brief leaders of […]

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With cybersecurity threats mushrooming across the Federal government, members of a House committee said this week that the Education Department is failing to protect the data of millions of Americans. DoEd’s systems have been penetrated many times by the inspector general, and the department has failed to correct many recommendations from the IG and General […]

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The majority of Federal agencies still rely heavily on legacy systems with little funding to buy new systems. But the good news is, most agency IT managers feel they can still squeeze a few more years out of their current systems, if given the right application upgrades, according to a new report from MeriTalk. The […]

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Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella took Washington, D.C., by storm Tuesday and detailed the software giant’s rapid transformation from being the target of choice for hackers because of poor security and coding practices to becoming one of the computing world’s leading information security and cyber intelligence firms. The distinction is an important one for […]

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This article originally appeared Nov. 10 as a LinkedIn post and is printed here with the permission of the author. In late June, I was honored to testify before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on the recent Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breaches. My testimony focused on the broader […]

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Big data and analytics hold great promise for improving the performance of Federal agencies and services. But leveraging data to improve agency operations while also maintaining security is not always easy. MeriTalk recently talked to Webster Mudge, the senior director of technology solutions at Cloudera, about how the open-source enterprise data management company approaches big […]

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Before Third Party Assessment Organizations (3PAOs) can perform security assessments of Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) for FedRAMP, they need the approval of a nonprofit in Frederick, Md. The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, or A2LA, isn’t a household name in cybersecurity. But with Federal agencies spending billions of dollars on cloud computing, A2LA has an […]

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a long-awaited implementation plan last week for the intelligence community’s overarching strategy for making more information available to the public about intelligence activities, programs, and oversight mechanisms. The Principles of Intelligence Transparency Implementation Plan comes nine months after Clapper first outlined what those principles were and seeks to […]

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Our bad habits make agencies and organizations vulnerable to cyber attacks. So what can agencies do better to improve cybersecurity? Hint: Don’t click on those links. Analytics and two-factor authentication also can help, and organizations must reduce dwell times so they identify cyberattacks more quickly. Matt Alderman, vice president of strategy at Tenable, spoke with […]

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Chief information security officers (CISOs) and other IT executives have become more proactive in their approach to cybersecurity investment and risk management, according to a new study. “Over the past couple of years the landscape has changed dramatically,” researchers at Southern Methodist University’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security found. “Cyber risk is now a […]

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