US government targets supply chain security

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It’s sounds like a storyline for a Hollywood film – brilliant teenager hacks into government computer system, and goes on to save the world…

Real life is not like that, of course. And a new report from the US Government Accountability Office sets out some of the harsh realities which have implications, not just for governments, but also for companies that rely on global supply chains.

The GAO report points out that reliance on a global supply chain introduces multiple risks to federal information systems.

“These risks include threats posed by actors — such as foreign intelligence services or counterfeiters — who may exploit vulnerabilities in the supply chain and thus compromise the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of an end system and the information it contains. This in turn can adversely affect an agency’s ability to effectively carry out its mission.”

It argues that the exploitation of information technology products and services through the global supply chain is an emerging threat that could degrade the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical and sensitive agency networks and data.

The GAO highlighted four key US government departments, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice and Defense, as being at risk. Of those, only Defense has defined supply chain protection measures and procedures for implementing and monitoring these measures.

You can bet that there is work going on in those other departments to address this security issue. And I suspect that there will be lots of others around the world will looking closely at this report – not just governments but also companies, and perhaps even the odd brilliant teenager…

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