1/22/09

Will this White House have the first network security breach?

The Washington Post is reporting that Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages.

The article says that "Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal bureaucracy yesterday, encountering a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts."

I won't repeat the rest of the article already states. I will point out one thing. A new administration seems to often (always?) be upset with the state of the information technology when it arrives at the White House. (See my blog entry Will Another President Call?) It makes sense, but still it seems that they were surprised that a move from the non-government-controlled campaign trail to the Oval office has IT security implications.

They will just have to figure out how to do what they think they need to within the constraints of the existing security policies and infrastructure. or they need to follow the policies that spell out how to change them. (And, regarding "security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts," I just wonder if no one remembers what happened to Sarah Palin using Yahoo Mail.)

I'm no fan of the Windows Operating System. I am a fan of good-enough security and doing things in order. Perhaps the systems there are running "old computer software" because someone locked them down and it would be foolish to upgrade if they did the job. You secure it, you make sure it stays secure, and you change it only if you have to.

I work in a university lab. I cannot bring my personal PowerBook from home and plug it in to the lab's inside network. I cannot use FaceBook or a handful of other applications that come with security risks and are not deemed related to the mission of the lab. It is not my home network. It is not my corporate network. It is the lab's and fit's the lab's security policy.

Welcome to the big leagues. (Maybe future transition teams will add this to the checklist: look into IT infrastructure and security policies to determine impact on operations.")

We also read Obama to get 'super-encrypted' BlackBerry. Yeah. Can it be secured? Sure. Will it be? We'll see. Unless they slow down just a very little I suspect that this White House willhave the first network security breach.

3 comments:

Fred Avolio said...

Other articles on this topic at Obama Staffers Followed Palin's Email Lead On Inauguration Day and Obama Keeps His Blackberry (And Gets a Sectera).

Fred Avolio said...

Security though obscurity: "Part of the 'compromise' ... involves the president giving up his old e-mail address and switching to a new, secret one."
From Fox News.

Fred Avolio said...

Marine One blueprints and avionics leaked to Iran through peer-to-peer network