Agencies get some help solidifying their insider threat programs

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  • Agencies have more guidance on establishing and maturing their insider threat programs. The National Insider Threat Task Force introduces a new maturity framework. It describes 19 elements of a good program. The framework describes how agencies can position senior leadership, train employees and then monitor user activity on the network. The task force said insider threats are a “dynamic problem” and agencies need constantly evolving guidance to respond. (Office of the Director of National Intelligence)
  • The Homeland Security Department is working on a strategy to get agencies to remove another well-known software too because of a cyber risk. DHS told Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that it’s developing a plan focused on awareness, assistance and direct action, if needed, to help agencies remove Adobe Flash from their networks. Adobe announced in 2017 that it will stop updating and distributing its Flash Player at the end of 2020. But Wyden wrote to DHS, NIST and NSA in July expressing concerns about the cyber vulnerabilities that many experts say Flash brings to networks. DHS said Flash is one of many “end of life” software titles that its working with agencies to remove or update.
  • Federal employees can now transfer unused annual leave to their colleagues impacted by Hurricane Michael. The Office of Personnel Management established its third emergency leave transfer program in two months. Acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert said agencies are in the best position to determine how much leave their employees might need, and who’s in the best position to donate. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • A federal judge denied the Trump administration’s request to stay an emoluments clause lawsuit. The lawsuit challenges whether President Donald Trump can benefit from foreign governments doing business with the Trump Hotel in Washington. This is the second time a U.S. District Court denied a request to stay the case filed by Maryland and the District of Columbia. In a statement, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine called the judge’s decision a major win. (Federal News Network)
  • A Senate supporter of federal whistleblowers is vindicated after a four-year quest for documents. Iowa’s Chuck Grassley (R-IA) late last week received declassified documents from the CIA he first asked for in 2014. They arrived from the intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson. Grassley said the documents, called Congresssional Notifications, prove that during the Obama administration, the CIA was reading congressional emails related to intelligence community whistleblowers. Grassley charged former intelligence officials John Brennan and James Clapper with foot-dragging. (Senate Judiciary Committee)
  • The Air Force is consolidating four legacy contract writing systems into one single contract management system. The program will be called Contract Information Technology and will deploy to more than 4,500 contracting users by December next year. The new system will allow for better transparency for audits. (Air Force)
  • Defense contractor Northrop Grumman agrees to pay an additional $25 million fine to settle False Claims Act allegations. The Justice Department says Northrop already paid more than $2 million to address a civil lawsuit, saying it overstated the number of hours its employees worked on two battlefield communications contracts with the Air Force. (Department of Justice)
  • Space training with the Air Force will now take 111 days instead of 77. Director of Operations and Communications at Air Force Space Command Brigadier General DeAnna Burt says the training will focus on understanding space threats and the expanding landscape. Airmen taking the course will need a top secret clearance. (Federal News Network)
  • The Pentagon identified a soldier who was killed in an insider attack as a National Guardsman. Maj. Brent Taylor, mayor of North Ogden, Utah,  had been on a year-long leave of absence in order to serve a tour training security forces in Afghanistan. Defense officials said he was shot by one of those trainees who, in turn, was killed by other Afghan troops. Taylor leaves behind seven children. He was due to return to his mayoral duties in January. (Federal News Network)