Posted by: mutantpoodle | June 20, 2007

Well, this is comforting


The Homeland Security Department, the lead U.S. agency for fighting cyber threats, suffered more than 800 hacker break-ins, virus outbreaks and other computer security problems over two years, senior officials acknowledged to Congress.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised – not after almost seven years of “it’s not a bug – it’s a feature” incompetence from this administration. But is it too much to ask that we have a bit of security on the computer network for the entity that is responsible for our…security?

The Homeland Security Department’s chief information officer, Scott Charbo, assured lawmakers his organization was working to prevent such problems.

“We need to increase our vigilance to ensure that such incidents do not happen again,” Charbo wrote in testimony prepared for Wednesday’s hearing. “The department takes these incidents very seriously and will work diligently to ensure they do not recur.”

Well, I hope so. Because right now, it looks like Homeland Security is just another cabinet-level department which couldn’t (with apologies to Hollywood Henderson) spell cat if you spotted it the “C” and the “T”.

I’m really not opposed to keeping our country as protected as possible these days (subject to, you know, the constitution and that bill of rights thing), and I’d have a lot more faith that we were on the right track if I didn’t see stuff like this all the time.

Here’s a question – why would anyone in a high-security environment get a laptop? If they needed it, wouldn’t you think it should be cleaned of any potentially sensitive information?

Here’s another one: How much safer do you feel when you see a middle-aged couple going through a random second screening at airport security?

Lax computer security is just the obvious issue. Less obvious is that with all the energy we spend making our security look tough, as opposed to actually making it effective, we make ourselves less safe.

So as much as I think it’s wrong to wantonly spy on Americans who have the temerity to oppose the Iraq war for the obvious constitutional reasons, it’s a profoundly stupid waste of time which could be better spent figuring out who’s really trying to attack our country.

Or making sure that your computers are secure.

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