Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.

WASHINGTON – Ongoing cyber-attacks on critical infrastructures will only be aggravated by sequestration, which kicks in March 1 unless Congress acts, as the ability to counter them could be greatly diminished, officials say in a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

This prospect looms as the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the congressional watchdog, has warned that critical infrastructures and federal operations are under increasing cyber-attack, placing sensitive information at risk, with a potential serious impact on federal and military operations.

“The increasing risks are demonstrated by the dramatic increase in reports of security incidents, the ease of obtaining and using hacking tools, and steady advances in the sophistication and effectiveness of attack technology,” a GAO report said.

Right now, the White House office charged with overseeing cyber-security lacks any overarching federal cyber-security strategy.

The GAO believes that such a strategy would provide a more effective framework for implementing cyber-security activities and better ensure that such activities will lead to progress in cyber-security.

However, the White House has told the GAO that while more needs to be done to develop a comprehensive strategy on cyber-security, it does not believe that producing another strategy document would help.

The GAO, however, believes that an overarching strategy document that includes milestones and performance measures, cost and resources, roles and responsibilities and linkage with other key strategy documents would provide a more effective framework for implementing cyber-security activities.

The GAO pointed out that while efforts are being made to respond to the attacks, there are a variety of areas in which challenges remain:

  • Designing and implementing risk-based federal and critical infrastructure programs. It said that shortcomings persist in assessing risks, developing and implementing controls and monitoring results in both the federal government and critical infrastructure.
  • Promoting research and development, or R&D. In this connection, GAO said that the goal of supporting targeted cyber R&D has been impeded by “implementation challenges” among federal agencies. The “implementation challenges” included limited sharing of detailed information about ongoing research, as well as a repository to track R&D projects and funding as required by law.
  • Addressing international cyber-security challenges, which does not fully specify outcome-oriented performance or time frames for completing activities. There is no overarching cyber-security to “articulate priority actions, assign responsibilities for performing them or setting time frames for their completion.”

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