[ISN] Hard to Sprint When You Have Two Broken Legs

http://carnal0wnage.attackresearch.com/2015/06/hard-to-sprint-when-you-have-two-broken.html By Valsmith June 14, 2015 Now as a disclaimer, I don’t work for the government so there is a lot I don’t know but I have friends who do or who have in the past and you hear things. I also pay attention and listen to questions I get in my training classes and conference talks. This directive from the White House is laughable for a number of reasons and demonstrates just how out of touch decision makers in the Government are on these issues. 1.) Technically skilled people have been BEGGING to improve cyber security in the government for well over 15 years. I don’t think this is any kind of secret, just google for a bit or talk to anyone who works in government in the trenches. Asking for staff, tools, budget, authority, support and getting little of it. In a way, this directive is insulting to them after years of asking, trying and failing suddenly someone says: “oh hey I have an idea, why don’t you go and secure stuff!”. Right. Unless you are going to supply those things they need RIGHT NOW, they will fail. And government procurement and hiring organizations are notoriously slow so the chances of that happening are slim. 2.) IT Operations. The first thing that has to be in place for there to be any real chance is solid IT operations. Organizations have to be able to push out images and patches quickly, orderly, and with assurance. Backup recovery, knowledge of inventory, well managed systems, etc. are all paramount. Do you know how most government IT operations are managed? By contractors, aka the lowest bidder. These are the Raytheons, Booz Allens, Boeings, Lockheeds, etc. who bid on large omnibus support contracts, win them, and THEN try to fill the staffing requirements. How do you win the lowest bid in services / support contracts? By keeping staffing costs down, aka paying the lowest possible salaries. This results in some of the most piss-poor IT operations in the world. You want to know why Hilary Clinton, former Secretaries of Defense, and numerous other government staff run their own private mail servers? Most likely its because their work provided email DOESN’T work. Slow systems, tiny inbox quotas, inability to handle attachments, downtime, no crypto or crypto incompatible with anyone else, these are just a few of the issues out there. And its not just email. I have personally seen a government conference room system take 15-20 minutes to log in at the windows login prompt, due too poor IT practices. I was told that most of the time people resorted to paper hand outs or overhead projectors. Yeh like the ones you had in highschool in the 90s with the light bulbs and transparencies. Essentially what this directive is saying: “Hey you low end IT staff, winners of the lowest bid, who can barely keep a network up or run a mail server, make sure you become infosec experts and shore up our defenses, and you have 30 days to do it.” Right. I have heard horror stories from acquaintances in the government of waiting 6 months for an initial account setup ticket to get performed. Weeks to get a new desktop deployed. It is idiotic to think that current IT operations can support this kind of request. But that is who typically manages servers, network and desktops, and who would have to deploy whatever security tools would be needed to do this in support of pitifully small infosec teams. […]