Last year brought a great deal of change to Washington, D.C., from a new administration moving into the White House to D.C. United building a new stadium. As 2018 starts up with seemingly limitless IT opportunities ahead, MeriTalk takes a look back on the top Federal IT stories from 2017. […]

After years on the backburner, electronic warfare (EW) is moving up the ranks as an integral part of the Pentagon’s military focus. The Army last month received approval to move ground-based EW efforts into the Terrestrial Layer Intelligence System, joining cyber, signals, and other intelligence as part of the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW) structure. The service wants to include airborne EW later this year.






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Usually agencies want to speak highly of their IT operating systems, so to hear Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Steve Censky call the USDA operating model “splintered and out of date” on Dec. 14 was a bit of a shock.  






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Password manager company, Dashlane, has added a twist with its list of the “Worst Password Offenders” of 2017, naming high-profile people and organizations that fell into the bad-password trap. President Trump was deemed the worst offender, primarily because of simple passwords reportedly used by cabinet members and policy directors. Outside parties were also the culprits for the Department of Defense, specifically for its contractor, Booz Allen, as well as the Republican Party (stemming from a careless data analytics firm). Paul Manafort, for using “Bond007” as a password, and Sean Spicer, for apparently tweeting his passwords, also came in for scorn.






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Email is a core network application for both the private sector the and government, and has become an essential business communication tool. Since email is nearly ubiquitous and often poorly secured, it also has become a vector for fraud and data theft. Phishing emails can compromise not only Federal networks and databases, but also trust in government communications.






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Since blockchain first appeared in 2009 as the digital ledger for Bitcoin cryptocurrency transactions, it has steadily taken the online world by storm, in the process practically becoming a synonym for security. Even if a lot of people still don’t know what it is, they’re beginning to hear it more and more. IBM, for instance, has taken to mentioning “blockchain for security” in its TV ads. And in a sure sign of pending mainstream acceptance, a “Blockchain for Dummies” book is now available.






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With rapid growth in smart devices, exploding data volumes, and the shift to the cloud, it is becoming more and more challenging to protect critical systems and information. Government and industry leaders convened at the Symantec Government Symposium in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to discuss these complex challenges and the solutions needed to address them.






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