Resolved: That Congress Make Its Computers Safe From Hackers

Whether or not someone in China has hacked into computers used by Rep. Frank Wolf and other members or staffers in the House of Representatives, doesn't this seem pointless?

Wolf said that he was planning to introduce a resolution in the House aimed at protecting congressional computers from future cyber-attacks ....

Can a Congressional Resolution stop hackers? Wouldn't his time be spent more productively by talking to the congressional IT people and asking them to make the computer network more secure?

< WMRM? | A Lesson in Obscenity >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Maybe Wolf (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by sister of ye on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:02:28 PM EST
    can send the hackers a sternly worded letter. That seems to be his Congress' favorite modus operandi.

    what a giggle (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by aquarian on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:16:53 PM EST
    This is just the ind of thing that drives IT departments crazy! Technophobes waving a wand and saying "make it so."
    You mean I can't watch tv on my computer?  
    But making up new passwords is such a pain...
    I don't think I need to take that all-day class on Vista, can't you just teach me in 15 minutes?
    Help me --I just lost my document...backup?  what's that?  you mean I need to back everything up?  

    oh brother (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by DandyTIger on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:29:13 PM EST
    How about just have congressional IT internal policies to set up laptops with all the usual encryption capabilities. Maybe have a little internal class to walk people through it.

    But for secure/secret information, I think there are already laws in place governing what you should and should not be carrying around with you. Unfortunately I think people (companies included) somehow think files on a laptop are different than paper files, and are too casual with the files on a computer. So education and help in setting things up is the answer. I know, a nice cartoon that shows when you're carrying around your laptop, you can have the equivalent of file drawers of stuff out in the open.

    Bottom line, if you don't need that file folder with you where you're going, don't have it in your laptop either. Just common sense. And beyond that, there's no excuse to not have sensitive files encrypted, and there's no excuse to not have sensitive email or IM's encrypted.

    The Army had this problem (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Knocienz on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 06:36:00 PM EST
    The US Army made a similar decision several years ago after a hacker defaced their home page.

    Result: The Army web page is now hosted by Apple servers

    After which the officer responsible (I believe the Lt Colonel mentioned) was hired out by Apple.

    They might as well draw a big target (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 03:45:02 PM EST
    on house.gov.

    It's already a target (none / 0) (#3)
    by dianem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 03:51:22 PM EST
    Hackers love to get into government systems. They're easy to break and it gives them a feeling of power.

    Thank the sun god for that... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 08:12:29 PM EST
    what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    I'm not that kind of techie (none / 0) (#2)
    by dianem on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 03:50:25 PM EST
    ...but my husband is. There is no such thing as a completely secure network. Period. The only way to instill even minimal security is to completely cut off the computer system from the outside world - no wireless, no e-mail, no automaiic upgrades, no off-site backup. I'm not even sure that could be done, nowadays. The world is simply too interconnected.

    Protect the networks as best you can, but it's more important to protect the data. There are some great encryptation techniques that will protect data quite effectively. There are also experts in both protecting and cracking data who will be happy to help the government learn how to better protect their systems for a small fee. Okay, probably not small, but a lot cheaper than what it would cost to investigate a security breach.

    All my work is on a completely untethered system (none / 0) (#12)
    by Ellie on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 05:48:45 PM EST
    I had a discussion a few weeks back with cpinva about my (IMO) clever solution for securely surfing the net.

    I rigged a small internal laptop sized drive with a hard shell and ports that literally snap right on. The drive has only the OS and software I need for surfing, viewing various media, and making quick AV compositions.

    I can archive what's important to me or of potential future use at the moment, and simply reformat from a Day One a clone of my original profile that I keep on a larger external drive.

    I reformat and reload frequently, whether I need to or not.

    It's not only safe but efficient and the equivalent of roaring around on a dunebuggy. Great use of memory, too, as using one's "real" system is the equivalent of going home and once the foyer light is on, having every single light and appliance also turn on.

    I figure that the security is worth the few moments it takes for re/booting.


    Resolved: (1) no more poverty, and (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:10:36 PM EST
    (2)no more homeless veterans.

    Can (none / 0) (#6)
    by sas on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:15:11 PM EST
    they make us safe from Obama trolls posing as regular pro-Hillary posters, stating that they have now "seen the light" re the Precious?

    i want to be there (none / 0) (#9)
    by cpinva on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:44:53 PM EST
    when the commodes get backed up in the congressional bathrooms!

    he was probably given an 877 help #, to call if he had a problem with his pc, and lost it. he probably also neglected to update his anti-virus program.

    my work group is fortunate, in that most of us are fairly tech fluent. when we have a problem, someone in the group can usually figure it out, without having to go through IT. of course, our jobs kind of depend on it.

    Is is Just Me (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 04:55:00 PM EST
    or is it astounding how naive our government officials seem to be about technology and IT security.  Bush admin claims it "erased" documents, so Congress appears to do nothing to get it.  How many times have we read reports of government laptops stolen or data files penetrated in the last few years?  
    And, don't get me started on HAVA and hackable, no-paper trail voting machines the Dems were all to happy to vote in. I'd love to hear what Richard Clarke has to say on this latest.

    Hack...ack...ack (none / 0) (#11)
    by Lora on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 05:10:26 PM EST
    You cannot make computers safe from hackers.  You can only try.

    We vote on computerized equipment that is hackable within seconds.  This has been demonstrated.


    Do Obama's paid hackers.... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Shainzona on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 08:52:29 PM EST
    also count?