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IBM Study: Organizations Struggling to Defend Against Sophisticated Cyber Attacks

December 18, 2014 Comments off

IBM Study: Organizations Struggling to Defend Against Sophisticated Cyber Attacks
Source: IBM

More than 80 percent of security leaders believe the challenge posed by external threats is on the rise, while 60 percent also agree their organizations are outgunned in the cyber war, according to findings released today by IBM (NYSE: IBM). The study additionally reveals that technology is seen as a critical component in addressing these security issues and threats, with big data, cloud and mobile named as the most significant areas of prioritization.

IBM’s third annual Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) study was conducted by the IBM Center for Applied Insights and is based on responses from 138 in-depth interviews with the surveyed organizations most senior security leaders. Sophisticated external threats were identified by 40 percent of security leaders as their top challenge with regulations coming in a distant second at just under 15 percent. As enterprise leaders continue to outline business priorities, external threats will require the most organizational effort over the next three to five years – as much as regulations, new technologies, and internal threats combined.

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CRS — Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis (December 11, 2014)

December 17, 2014 Comments off

Legislation to Facilitate Cybersecurity Information Sharing: Economic Analysis (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Data breaches, such as those at Target, Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, and JPMorgan Chase, affecting financial records of tens of millions of households seem to occur regularly. Companies typically respond by trying to increase their cybersecurity by hiring consultants and purchasing new hardware and software. Policy analysts have suggested that sharing information about these breaches could be an effective and inexpensive part of improving cybersecurity. Firms share information directly on an ad hoc basis and through private-sector, nonprofit organizations such as Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) that can analyze and disseminate information.

Firms sometimes do not share information because of perceived legal risks, such as violating privacy or antitrust laws, and economic incentives, such as giving useful information to their competitors. A firm that has been attacked might prefer to keep such information private out of a worry that its sales or stock price will fall. Further, there are no existing mechanisms to reward firms for sharing information. Their competitors can take advantage of the information, but not contribute in turn. This lack of reciprocity, called “free riding” by economists, may discourage firms from sharing. In addition, the information shared may not be applicable to those receiving it, or it might be difficult to apply.

Because firms are reluctant to share information, other firms suffer from vulnerabilities that could be corrected. Further, by not sharing information about effective cybersecurity products and techniques, the size and quality of the market for cybersecurity products suffer.

Exergy and the City: The Technology and Sociology of Power (Failure)

December 16, 2014 Comments off

Exergy and the City: The Technology and Sociology of Power (Failure)
Source: Journal of Urban Technology

Blackouts—the total loss of electrical power—serve as a reminder of how dependent the modern world and particularly urban areas have become on electricity and the appliances it powers. To understand them we consider the critical nature of electrical infrastructure. In order to provide general patterns from specific cases, a large number of blackouts have been analyzed. Irrespective of cause, they display similar effects. These include measurable economic losses and less easily quantified social costs. We discuss financial damage, food safety, crime, transport, and problems caused by diesel generators. This is more than just a record of past failures; blackouts are dress rehearsals for the future in which they will appear with greater frequency and severity. While energy cannot be destroyed, exergy—the available energy within a system—can be. Exergy is concerned with energy within an “environment;” in this case a city. The bottom line is simple: no matter how “smart” a city may be, it becomes “dumb” when the power goes out.

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions Releases Annual Mortgage Fraud Report

December 15, 2014 Comments off

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions Releases Annual Mortgage Fraud Report
Source: LexisNexis

Today LexisNexis® Risk Solutions announced the findings of its annual analysis of mortgage fraud in the U.S., revealing that despite improving economic conditions, mortgage fraud is still a national problem. In fact, mortgage application fraud and misrepresentation has grown for the past three years. Seventy-four percent of loans reported in 2013 involved some kind of fraud or misrepresentation on the loan application compared to 69 percent in 2012 and 61 percent in 2011.

The LexisNexis Annual Mortgage Fraud Report differs from other studies on the topic, as it seeks to provide information on the composition of proven residential mortgage fraud and misrepresentation by mortgage industry professionals. The analysis is based on data submitted to the LexisNexis® Mortgage Industry Data Exchange (MIDEX®).

Analysis of the data shows that appraisal and property valuation fraud experienced a significant drop from last year, falling to 15 percent of loans reported with these problems. In 2012, 26 percent of loans reported had signs of appraisal and property valuation fraud following 31 percent in 2011 and 33 percent in 2010. Regulation changes are cited as the reason for this rapid and dramatic decline in appraisal and property valuation fraud.

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Managing the Cyber Security Threat

December 12, 2014 Comments off

Managing the Cyber Security Threat (PDF)
Source: Hoover Institution

Cyber insecurity is now well established as a serious, unconventional threat. It is a far more serious threat to the United States than to any other state because the US economy and critical infrastructure are both more valuable and more dependent on cyber systems than those of any other state. The US government and US companies are spending billions of dollars each year to protect their information systems and operations, whether intelligence, military, or commercial, and the level of spending is growing faster than any other area of national security activity.

The cyber-security policies adopted thus far reflect a unilateralist, combative mentality, aimed at finding ways to protect the United States from cyber attack and to develop forms of cyber attack to deter or retaliate when appropriate. Congress has created a Cyber Command to lead the military dimension of this effort, which supplements a massive intelligence program at the National Security Agency, Homeland Security, and other agencies, in addition to huge increases in private spending.

Rape And Sexual Assault Among College-Age Females, 1995-2013

December 11, 2014 Comments off

Rape And Sexual Assault Among College-Age Females, 1995-2013
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics
From press release:

Among college-age females (ages 18 to 24), the rate of rape and sexual assault was 1.2 times higher for nonstudents than students for the period 1995–2013, the Bureau of Justice Statistics announced today. Nonstudents (65,700) accounted for more than double the average annual number of rape and sexual assault victimizations compared to students (31,300). For 2013, no differences in the rates of rape and sexual assault were found between the two groups.

Rape and sexual assault victimizations were more likely to go unreported to police among victims who were college students (80 percent) than nonstudents (67 percent). About a quarter of student (26 percent) and nonstudent (23 percent) victims who did not report to police believed the incident was a personal matter, and 1 in 5 (20 percent each) stated a fear of reprisal. Student victims (12 percent) were more likely than nonstudent victims (5 percent) to state that the incident was not important enough to report.

While college students experienced lower rates of rape and sexual assault than nonstudents in 1995–2013, their average annual rate was still consistently higher than females in other age brackets (ages 12 to 17 and 25 or older). A third (33 percent) of rape and sexual assault victimizations against female college students involved completed rape, compared to 40 percent of victimizations against nonstudents. The majority of student (56 percent) and nonstudent (52 percent) victims experienced attempted rape or other sexual assault.

This report uses data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to describe the nature of rape and sexual assault against college-age females ages 18 to 24. The NCVS is the only national source of data that compares rape and sexual assault victimization among college students (those enrolled in a college, university, trade school or vocational school) and nonstudents.

New From the GAO

December 11, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Immigration Benefits: Improvements Needed to Fully Implement the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act. GAO-15-3, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-3
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667396.pdf

2. SSA Disability Benefits: Enhanced Policies and Management Focus Needed to Address Potential Physician-Assisted Fraud. GAO-15-19, November 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-19
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666831.pdf

3. Information Technology: HUD Can Take Additional Actions to Improve Its Governance. GAO-15-56, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-56
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667359.pdf

4. Transportation for Older Adults: Measuring Results Could Help Determine If Coordination Efforts Improve Mobility. GAO-15-158, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-158
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667376.pdf

5. Public Transit: Federal and Transit Agencies Taking Steps to Build Transit Systems’ Resilience but Face Challenges. GAO-15-159, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-159
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667394.pdf

Testimonies

1. NASA: Human Space Exploration Programs Face Challenges, by Cristina T. Chaplain, director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Subcommittee on Space, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. GAO-15-248T, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-248T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667351.pdf

2. Unmanned Aerial Systems: Efforts Made toward Integration into the National Airspace Continue, but Many Actions Still Required, by Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D., director, physical infrastructure issues, before the Subcommittee on Aviation, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. GAO-15-254T, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-254T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667398.pdf

3. Federal Retirement Processing: Applying Information Technology Acquisition Best Practices Could Help OPM Overcome a Long History of Unsuccessful Modernization Efforts, by Valerie C. Melvin, director, information management and technology resources issues, before the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and the Census, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-15-277T, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-277T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667372.pdf

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