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DHS cybersecurity plans need more work

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security must do more to protect the nation's critical information infrastructure, according to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office.

While the agency has begun efforts to fulfill its cybersecurity duties, "it has not fully addressed any of the 13 [primary] responsibilities, and much needs to be done," the GAO said.

Those responsibilities include developing a national plan for critical infrastructure protection that includes cybersecurity; developing partnerships and coordinating efforts with other federal agencies, state and local governments and the private sector; improving public/private sharing of information on cyberattacks, threats and vulnerabilities; and developing and improving national cyberanalysis and warning capabilities.

The DHS has already established the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (U.S. CERT) as a public/private partnership to make cybersecurity a coordinated national effort, the GAO said. And it has established forums designed to build trust and information sharing among federal officials with information security responsibilities and law enforcement entities.

But it has not yet developed national cyberthreat and vulnerability assessments or contingency plans for cybersecurity -- including a plan for recovering key Internet functions, the GAO said.

The report prompted members of Congress to call on the DHS to get moving.

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