In today’s Federal Newscast, the White House says the WannaCry ransomware that has reached dozens of countries, was not able to penetrate federal cyber defenses, and also defends the NSA.
The ransomware attack impacting computer systems worldwide has not penetrated federal cyber defenses. The White House’s Tom Bossert said federal networks have not been affected by the cyber attack that reached dozens of countries and infected more than 300,000 machines. Bossert said the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will also provide agencies with updates. (White House)
The National Security Agency denied charges that it is the origin of the ransomware tool. Bossert said the code was not developed by the NSA to hold ransom data. He said it was created by culpable parties, potentially criminals or foreign nation-states. This was in response to Microsoft placing the blame on the agency for stockpiling vulnerabilities. (White House)
The Veterans Affairs Department warns veterans who use the Choice Program of a scam to steal veterans’ credit card information. VA said the phone line is targeting veterans who misdial the Veterans Choice Program line. VA said the two phone lines look almost the same, except for the area code. VA said it has a toll-free identity theft help line that can help anyone who thinks they could be at risk. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
A bad score from the Congressional Budget office isn’t slowing down the Modernizing Government Technology Act this time around. CBO released its analysis on Monday of the bill to help agencies move off of legacy IT systems. CBO said if the bill were to become law, it would cost the government $500 million over five years and not impact direct spending or revenues. Last session, CBO scored the bill at $9 billion and many in and out of Congress said that was a major reason why the Senate didn’t take up the bill. The full House is expected to vote on Congressman Will Hurd’s (R-Texas) MGT Act on Wednesday. (Congressional Budget Office)
A report from the Washington Post says President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials during their meeting last week. The Post said current and former U.S. officials shared details about a terror threat from the Islamic State using laptops on airplanes. Three White House officials who were at the meeting strongly denounced the story. (Associated Press)
A new bipartisan bill aims to end the misuse of government travel and purchase cards. The legislation was introduced by three senators and requires agencies to share spending best practices. The General Services Administration will also have to share its governmentwide data with agencies to help them detect patterns of card abuse. The bill was brought up last year but died in the House. (Sen. Tom Carper)
A new bill that will change the way the Defense Department buys weapons and other goods is expected to come out of Congress this week. House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) is releasing his third annual acquisition reform bill. The bill will make tweaks to some of the big organizational changes Congress made to the acquisition office last year. The Pentagon spends hundreds of billions of dollars buying weapons, goods and services each year. Experts said the acquisition system is in dire need of reform.
The Air Force wants suggestions from its airmen on how to improve squadron units. Airmen are being asked to log on to a Squadron Revitalization Idea Site to comment, share, and vote on ideas. The crowd sourcing initiative is part of a larger push from Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein to fundamentally change the service. (Federal News Radio)
A major Postal union has reached a tentative pay and benefits agreement. Members of the National Association of Letter Carriers will be able to vote in the weeks ahead on the deal negotiators reached with the Postal Service on Monday. The union covers more than 200,000 carriers. The agreement, retroactive to May 2016, gives a series of raises over the next two years, plus a series of seven cost of living adjustments through 2019. But carriers will pay more for health insurance. (National Association of Letter Carriers)