VA Blocked Over a Billion Cyberthreats in March

The Veterans Affairs Department could become quickly overwhelmed if the threat continues to escalate, the agency’s top information officer said.

National Journal
Mohana Ravindranath, Nextgov
Add to Briefcase
Mohana Ravindranath, Nextgov
May 4, 2015, 6:50 a.m.

The Veterans Affairs Department experienced a significant surge in cyberthreats in March, Chief Information Officer Stephen Warren said during a Thursday call with reporters.

The department blocked 1.19 billion malware instances and 358 million intrusion attempts into VA systems in March alone, Warren said. This number is up since February, when VA reported blocking 930 million malware instances and 4.3 million intrusion attempts.

If the volume of threats continues to ramp up, Warren said, “any agency will run into the point where we may get overwhelmed.” He added later, “Nothing I do will reduce what’s coming at me one bit.”

Instead, he said, VA will need to scale its cybersecurity to prevent what could be an exponential increase in threats. He said the department has been strengthening its continuous monitoring technology, reinforcing external network connections, and beefing up security training.

When asked about the motivations behind the threats, Warren said his team doesn’t segment threats by cause, focusing instead on withstanding the volume of threats when they come in.

“It is across the board,” he said. “There doesn’t appear to be any disincentive for an individual or an organization “¦ to come after the VA as well as other organizations for data.”

Though he didn’t propose a solution to the problem, Warren said during the call that an expanded cybersecurity budget, as well as a more generous operational budget, might help VA manage an influx of cyberthreats.

Warren noted that he has shared information about the volume of threats with the Office of Management and Budget and says he hopes other agencies will be up front about the threats they face.

“We need to figure out, ‘How do we take this on together as a society?’” Warren said.

What We're Following See More »
IT’S OFFICIAL
Senate Votes to End Shutdown
0 minute ago
THE LATEST
DACA VOTE TO COME
Dems Agree to Take McConnell’s Deal
28 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he's accepting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's offer to hold an immigration vote at a later date, "clearing the way for passage of a bill to reopen the federal government" today. "McConnell early Monday promised to take up an immigration bill that would protect an estimated 800,000 Dreamers from deportation, under an open amendment process, if Democrats would agree to end the government shutdown."

Source:
IN EXCHANGE FOR FUNDING VOTE TODAY
McConnell Promises Vote on Immigration
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday promised to take up an immigration bill protecting an estimated 800,000 Dreamers from deportation and allow an open amendment process if Democrats agree to reopen the government." He may need up to a dozen Democratic votes.

Source:
WILL ALERT OVER 600,000 AMERICANS
Twitter to Inform Targets of Russia Propaganda
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Twitter is notifying 677,775 U.S. users "who followed, retweeted, or liked tweets from accounts of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian government-linked troll farm." The social media company has so far identified 50,258 Russian-linked bot accounts that tweeted around the election. According to analysis, the hashtag #SchumerShutdown has become the top trending hashtag promoted by Russian bots on Twitter in the past 48 hours. The Alliance for Securing Democracy, found that the accounts have used the hashtag more than 700 times. (Politico)

Source:
PENCE SPEEDS UP CLOCK
U.S. Embassy to Enter Jerusalem Before End of 2018
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

The updated timetable, which Pence announced, represents an acceleration of plans to formalize their recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. "'By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction — and fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace,' he added. Israeli Arab lawmakers staged a walk out during Pence's address at the beginning of his speech, while Palestinian officials snubbed Pence’s visit to parliament. Netenyahu described the U.S.-Israel relationship as a 'remarkable alliance' which has 'never been stronger.'"

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login