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Federal watchdog investigating State Department cybersecurity practices

April 8, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 48.8%. 2 min read.

An independent government watchdog is conducting a wide-ranging probe into the State Department's cybersecurity practices, including how it manages and responds to cyber threats, the investigating office confirmed to CNN Thursday.

Washington (CNN)An independent government watchdog is conducting a wide-ranging probe into the State Department's cybersecurity practices, including how it manages and responds to cyber threats, the investigating office confirmed to CNN Thursday.

The Government Accountability Office "does have an ongoing audit of the State Department's cybersecurity practices," director for Information Technology and Cybersecurity Vijay A.

D'Souza said, adding that he has been in contact with the department and is "optimistic" the investigation will be completed in a timely manner.

In a March 30 letter to Keith Jones, the State Department's chief information officer, D'Souza described the investigation as being focused on the department's capacity for managing hacking risks and responding to and recovering from cybersecurity incidents.

"The Department is aware of the recent GAO request and is working to respond," a State Department spokesperson told CNN.

The Biden administration has faced mounting pressure to respond quickly to the hacking risks posed by foreign adversaries, in the wake of high-profile incidents that widely affected the public and private sectors.

The twin incidents, though unrelated, have prompted a scramble within the US government to assess cybersecurity risks and to develop new policies designed to shore up the country's cyber defenses.

The administration is also expected to establish cybersecurity standards for federal software vendors and use the government's immense procurement power to reshape the software market to prioritize network security, according to Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser and the White House's top cyber official.

Speaking Wednesday at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, Neuberger said another idea the White House is considering is a kind of National Transportation Safety Board for cybersecurity.

Neuberger added the administration is preparing an initiative to harden the cybersecurity of industrial control systems that govern power, water and other critical infrastructure.

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