• United States



Heated Congressional Testimony Blasts “Cyber Insecurity”

Apr 22, 20073 mins
Data and Information SecurityIT Leadership

 A very heated hearing was held in DC last week which mentioned cybersecurity lapses, hacking attacks, and recent FISMA grades for federal agencies. These are strongest “formal” words I’ve ever heard from anyone in Congress regarding our cyber situation.

With an opening statement entitled: “Cyber Insecurity: Hackers are Penetrating Federal Systems and Critical Infrastructure,” this hearing was anything but business as usual. The formal opening statement from James R. Langevin, who is the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology, was a virtual tongue-lashing.

The purpose of this hearing was to allow House members the opportunity to understand the details behind how pervasively federal systems have been penetrated and what the Department of Homeland Security and others are doing to stop the compromises. It started with a grilling from the chairman.

Note this one excerpt from chairman Langevin: “We don’t know the scope of our networks. We don’t know who’s inside our networks. We don’t know what information has been stolen. We need to get serious about this threat to our national security.”  

He went on from there. “We’re not sure how much information was lost…”

He took on DHS, “I’m disappointed and troubled by the Department of Homeland Security’s progress in securing cyberspace…. I don’t know how this Department is going to lead the nation in securing cyberspace when it can’t even secure it’s own networks.”

There were many immediate articles written in response to this hearing, including pieces examining various aspects of the cyber federal problems from Computerworld, the Washington Post, and MSNBC. It’s clear that cyber issues are heating up fast, but it’s unclear what will actually be done. For example: will more dollars be forthcoming? There is little doubt that Congress thinks this is a serious issue, but where does it fit in with all of the other funding priorities? Despite the fact that this hearing received good coverage, it didn’t crack the top-tier stories of the week.

Meanwhile, stories continue to hit the press about identity theft. For example, Thousands of social security numbers exposed by federal department. These stories are also starting to hit public opinion regarding the serious nature of cyber threats. A recent Michigan poll put ID Theft as the #1 social concern – ahead of even health care.

 My previous blog addressed the many views on recent FISMA grades, but this hearing went further and focused on actual breaches. These issues may now be seen as a true threat to national security and receive even more attention.

I expect to start seeing more news coverage for radical solutions to government cybersecurity problems – including a new secure internet (2 or 3) for government and business partners. 


Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist and author. During his distinguished career, Dan has served global organizations in the public and private sectors in a variety of executive leadership capacities, including enterprise-wide Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles in Michigan State Government. Dan was named: "CSO of the Year," "Public Official of the Year," and a Computerworld "Premier 100 IT Leader." Dan is the co-author of the Wiley book, “Cyber Mayday and the Day After: A Leader’s Guide to Preparing, Managing and Recovering From Inevitable Business Disruptions.” Dan Lohrmann joined Presidio in November 2021 as an advisory CISO supporting mainly public sector clients. He formerly served as the Chief Strategist and Chief Security Officer for Security Mentor, Inc. Dan started his career at the National Security Agency (NSA). He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a US / UK military facility. Lohrmann is on the advisory board for four university information assurance (IA) programs, including Norwich University, University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), Valparaiso University and Walsh College. Earlier in his career he authored two books - Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web and BYOD For You: The Guide to Bring Your Own Device to Work. Mr. Lohrmann holds a Master's Degree in Computer Science (CS) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and a Bachelor's Degree in CS from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

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