DHS to Silicon Valley: Tell us how to secure this “Internet of Things”

The Internet of Things. A tempest in a teapot?

The US Department of Homeland Security has announced that its Silicon Valley Office (SVO)—the agency's liaison point with the technology industry—will hold an event on December 10 to kick off a recruiting drive for startups and "non-traditional small businesses" interested in latching onto government funding. The Industry Day, being held at the Menlo Park, California, offices of SRI International, will be focused on the current leading source of worry for DHS officials: the "Internet of Things" (IoT).

The DHS posting describes the three-hour event as a time to:

1)Describe the homeland security challenges associated with IoT

2) Describe the benefits of the SVO Innovation Program to startups

3) Show you how to apply for funding

And IoT is high on the DHS' funding list. Earlier this year, the agency's Science and Technology Directorate launched a Cyber Physical Systems Security (CPSSEC) program intended to spur development of security measures as part of the design process for IoT devices. In an amendment to a DHS five-year procurement program, the S&T Directorate described the crux of the problem: the "cyber physical" systems hitting the market now have largely "not been subjected to comprehensive threat analyses, have both known and unknown vulnerabilities, and lack security as an integral part of design." The more IoT devices that are deployed, the bigger the problem will be, DHS officials noted.

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Report: China hacked Australia’s weather service

The forecast: hot, with a chance of severe data breaches.

According to a government official quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, China is responsible for a breach at the Bureau of Meteorology, which may have allowed attackers to gain access to sensitive national security data. The Australian weather bureau hosts a high-performance computing center used by multiple government agencies and has network connections to Australia's Department of Defence.

The breach was described as "massive" by the unnamed government official, who told ABC News that he was certain "it was China" that breached the systems. He added that fixing the Bureau of Meteorology's network to close the holes used to gain access would cost millions of dollars.

There has been no official statement on the breach. Australia's Federal Police would not comment on the ABC report, and the government has made it a policy not to speak about specific computer security events. A spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry has said the report contains "groundless accusations."

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