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The recent cyberattacks that targeted U.S. nuclear power plants and other energy facilities emanated from Russia, according to U.S. government officials, and the Energy Department is helping power firms shore up their defenses against further incursions

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Former Defense Department CIO Terry Halvorsen heralded the end of the Common Access Card more than a year ago, and testing of new ways for DOD personnel to access IT systems began about six months ago. In late June, one of the companies that might provide more flexible authentication methods announced it is working with an arm of the DOD to test its technology.

Plurilock Security Solutions, an artificial intelligence authentication technology company based in Victoria, British Columbia, said it is working with the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), to test its BioTracker technology.

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Federal Communications Commission CIO David Bray will leave his post next month and become the leader of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's new Office of Ventures and Innovation, NGA Director Robert Cardillo announced Monday. In a speech at the GEOINT 2017 Symposium in San Antonio, Texas, Cardillo said Bray is "a true change agent," and that he expects "big things from him."

The new office will be tasked with driving innovation, both internally at NGA and with the intelligence agency's commercial partners, Cardillo said. The NGA is in charge of collecting, analyzing and distributing geospatial intelligence, especially through satellite imagery, for national security officials. 

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Blockchain is commonly described as one of the most promising technologies on the IT landscape, and federal agencies are rushing to learn how to make the most of it.

The Department of Homeland Security is studying how the federal government can use the new capabilities, which include improving the efficiency and security of a digital log of transactions. DHS is funding research projects on whether blockchain can provide additional security and privacy controls, including at airports.

If so, agency leaders envision blockchain would allow for:

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President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a much-anticipated (and delayed) executive order on cybersecurity, and it prioritizes risk management for federal IT systems, modernizing federal technology and the use of shared IT services. The order refocuses cybersecurity policy around three main areas: protecting federal networks; protecting critical infrastructure; and securing the nation through deterrence, international cooperation and the workforce.

Under the order, agency heads will be held accountable by Trump "for implementing risk management measures commensurate with the risk and magnitude of the harm that would result from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction of IT and data."

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The Trump administration is signaling it is serious about modernizing federal IT.

On Monday, the White House announced, via an executive order, the creation of the American Technology Council, or ATC. The purpose of the ATC is to "coordinate the vision, strategy, and direction" for the federal government's use of IT and the delivery of digital services. Additionally, the ATC is supposed to "coordinate advice to the president related to policy decisions and processes regarding" the government's use of IT, the group will work to ensure that these decisions and processes are consistent with the goal of promoting the secure, efficient, and economical use of technology. 

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Former Defense Department CIO Terry Halvorsen has a new job — he’s a Samsung man now.

Last week, the South Korean electronics giant announced that Halvorsen, who left the government in February, will serve as an executive vice president, and he will advise JK Shin, president and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications at Samsung. Halvorsen will focus on helping Samsung grow its global enterprise mobility business, potentially with government agencies.

Samsung said Halvorsen “will advise customers and partners on how to implement effective mobile enterprise strategies within their mobile workforce and help further propel corporate government and regulatory business” for Samsung’s global enterprise mobility unit.

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