aside U.S. National Security At Stake Due To Antiquated Governmental Computer Systems

ELECTIONS HRC W CROWD GREAT PIX hillary-clinton-nevada-caucusI have been listening ad nauseam to the media dissect Hillary Clinton’s convoluted explanations for her email mishandling, in a million different ways. This media singular focus reminds me of someone complaining that the dish washer isn’t working when the house is on fire and then this person calls a repairman instead of the fire department. While the republican party has been pursuing Mrs. Clinton for her sloppy email handling, our national security has been under challenge on numerous occasions, because of an adversary breaching sensitive computers data under the control of multiple U.S. governmental agencies.

In short, while the FBI has not been able to verify that Mrs. Clinton’s email work products (from 2009- 2013) transmitted via her private server were ever compromised, the FBI has confirmed that in 2010, 2014 and in 2015, the US. State Department’s computer sustained major cyber attacks, probably by Russian hands. I am convinced that Russia was not able to pierce her computer security wall because if they had done so, they would have already leaked all the emails that she deleted, as requested by Donald Trump.

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The media has lost sight that it is our  U.S. national security at stake because of recent widespread hacking of several U.S governmental computer systems by foreign entities. This is not a left or right issue. No one working within any government agency including the U.S. congress has clean hands regarding their oversight duties to insure the protection of all of the U.S. government’s sensitive information.

To date, the public has not been sufficiently informed about how bad things are. The following 5/25/16 Computer World write-up, “U.S. government agencies are still using Windows 3.1 and 1970s computer,” by Grant Gross of IDG News Service, provides a glimpse into the widespread inadequacy of current governmental IT systems (excerpts):

“Some U.S. government agencies are using IT systems running Windows 3.1, the decades old COBOL and Fortran programming languages or computers from the 1970s.”

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“A back up nuclear control messaging system at the U.S. Department of Defense runs on an IBM Series 1 computer, first introduced in 1976, and uses eight-inch floppy discs, while the Internal Revenue Service’s master file of taxpayer data is written in assembly language code that’s more than 5 decades old, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.”

“Some agencies are still running Windows 3.1, first released in 1992, as well as the newer but unsupported Windows XP, Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, noted during a Wednesday hearing on outdated government IT systems.”

“The government is spending more than $80 billion a year on IT, and “it largely doesn’t work,” Chaffetz said during a House Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. The federal government is years, and sometimes decades, behind the private sector.” “Agencies now spend about 75% of their IT budgets maintaining existing of legacy systems with only about 25% going toward procuring new systems, said Dave Powner, director of IT management issues at the GAO.”

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On 4/8/15, Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz reported in a CNN POLITICS article, “How the U.S. thinks Russians Hacked the White House” which provides another example of a recent cyber attack by a foreign state:

“Russian hackers behind the damaging cyber intrusion of the State Department in recent months used that perch to penetrate sensitive parts of the White House computer system, according to U.S. officials briefed on the investigation.”

“While the White House has said the breach only affected an unclassified system, that description belies the seriousness of the intrusion. The hackers had access to sensitive information such as real-time non-public details of the president’s schedule. While such information is not classified, it is still highly sensitive and prized by foreign intelligence agencies, U.S. officials say.”

“The FBI, Secret Service and U.S. intelligence agencies are all involved in investigating the breach, which they consider among the most sophisticated attacks ever launched against U.S. government systems. The intrusion was routed through computers around the world, as hackers often do to hide their tracks, but investigators found tell-tale codes and other markers that they believe point to hackers working for the Russian government.”

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The following examples of recent government data breaches is from the September 2015 edition of “Security Matters:”

“I have advocated many times against allowing senior government officials to use personal email accounts and this applies to Secretary Clinton as much as anyone else. It is not secure enough. However, Al Jazeera (not exactly an impartial media outlet when it comes to U.S. foreign policy) contends that State Department email systems were insecure as well. They quote a former presidential innovation fellow, Clay Johnson, as saying that State Dept. official email was compromised as part of the (2010) WikiLeaks/ Chelsea Manning debacle (but) no clintonemail.com messages were included in the Manning dump, unlike thousands of emails from State Department servers.” (ZDNet, 3/5/15)

“Stanford Computer Scientist Jonathan Mayer: Hillary Clinton’s email “system has been set up by somebody with some expertise in security who went out of their way to add protection.” (Stanford Computer Scientist Jonathan) Mayer added that speculation that Clinton had created a ‘homebrew’ internet system was ‘plainly inaccurate’, at least when talking about the current configuration of the service. ‘The current system has been set up by somebody with some expertise in security who went out of their way to add protection,’ he said.” (The Guardian, 3/7/15)  AP: “And since the Secret Service was guarding Clinton’s home, an email server there would have been well protected from theft or a physical hacking.”

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(However),”The State Department’s email system was hacked in fall 2014. “The U.S. State Department on Monday said its unclassified email systems were the victim of a cyber attack, around the same time as White House systems were breached, but no classified data was compromised.” (Reuters, 11/17/14) • The State Department continued to weed out hackers three months after the department’s email system was breached. “Three months after the State Department confirmed hackers breached its unclassified email system, the government still hasn’t been able to evict them from the department’s network, according to three people familiar with the investigation.”

“Officials said Russia was behind a hack of the Joint Staff email system that affected 4,000 government employees. “The Joint Staff’s unclassified email system, which was hacked during the last weekend of July, remains off line over a week later, CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin reported. The reason cited is that the attack was, Martin said, ‘a new sophisticated intrusion’ of the kind that could only be mounted by a state actor. The link to Russia was first reported by NBC News. Those affected by the attack are the roughly 4,000 mostly military personnel who work for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. The Joint Staff took its unclassified e-mail system off line because of some suspicious probes over the weekend of July 25.” (CBS News, 8/6/15) Hackers took sensitive information about the nation’s 85,000 dams from the Army Corps of Engineers.”

RELATED ARTICLE:

Russia, Suspected in Hacking, Has Uneasy History With Hillary Clinton www.nytimes.com/2016/…/russia-putin-clinton-emails-hacking.ht…The New York TimesJul 28, 2016 – …also speaks to the hard-line stance toward Russia and Mr. Putin that Mrs. Clinton 

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