Library of Congress fends off attack on network

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on  Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

  • IT professionals at the Library of Congress successfully fended off an attack on its network. The library said the distributed denial of service attack started Sunday morning, employing multiple forms of attack. It temporarily shut down services and websites including Congress.gov. They’ve all returned to normal. (Library of Congress)
  • Twenty-three of the 24 executive branch agencies received letters from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about political appointees who were converted to career positions. The committee said the practice, referred to as burrowing, decreases morale and runs the risk of losing out on more qualified applicants. They want to know how many conversions there have been since September 2015. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • Agencies will be asked to review their health and wellness programs again. The Office of Personnel Management will send out the Well-Check online survey this fall. The tool helps agencies determine how good they are at promoting a healthy workforce among their employees. Thirty-six federal agencies last completed the survey back in 2014. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • An investigation by the Postal Service Office of Inspector General found many of its retail facilities in the Washington capital region have workplace safety issues. Out of the 20 facilities reviewed, 18 had OSHA violations related to building safety and security and 16 did not have displays telling workers what to do when hurt at work. The IG recommended that management come up with a plan of action to address these issues. (U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General)
  • Three years ago, the Homeland Security Department had a nine-year backlog for its anti-terrorism inspections of U.S chemical plants. The backlog is now gone. DHS said it cut through the backlog of more than 3,000 site-specific security plans through improved business processes and better cooperation with the industries it regulates. But it’s still revising its approach for deciding which facilities might present the most opportune terrorism targets. On Wednesday, DHS suspended its current process for deciding which plants are subject to federal oversight. It plans to roll out a more user-friendly version of the Chemical Security Assessment Tool by the end of this year. (Federal Register)
  • The Office of Management and Budget said it was laying the groundwork now on policies that will be sustainable during the presidential transition. Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel said cyber is one of those areas. OMB said it wants to focus on its new cyber workforce strategy and implementing phase one of the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program at all agencies by the end of the year. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department is seeking industry input on how to protect against attacks on smartphones and tablets. It’s asking the private sector for its thoughts on products and services for fighting mobile security threats, as well as where there might be gaps in the government’s protection plans. The answers will be reported to Congress later this year. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department is teaming up with a local jurisdiction to help prevent human trafficking. DHS officials signed a memorandum of understanding with the Virginia attorney general’s office. It brings the so-called Blue Campaign against human trafficking to several state agencies. School, law enforcement and Child Protective Services will all receive training on recognizing the signs of human trafficking. Recent deep web analysis has uncovered the presence of kidnapping rings in Northern Virginia. (Department of Homeland Security)
  • The Food and Drug Administration plans on putting more capabilities and services online at FDA.gov. The agency awarded a $100 million contract to Information Innovators under its Web Content Management System Support Services blanket purchase agreement. This is a follow-on to a contract of smaller scope awarded in 2010 to GlobalNet Services for $53 million. Information Innovators bought GlobalNet in 2014. Under this new contract, the FDA will get technology to support a host of web content management, search, and application delivery services. (Information Innovators Inc.)

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