National Institute of Standards and Technology

What seemed like a simple objective, to develop and issue a standardized, electronically-verifiable identification card for civilian agency personnel, continues to encounter a barrage of technical and cultural challenges at a time when identification has become a critical component in the government’s efforts to embrace mobile and remote computing.

Despite the government’s aggressive push under the Identity, Credential and Access Management (ICAM) plan, only three departments are above minimum fielding levels and using the civilian personal identity verification (PIV) cards, said Paul Grant, director for cybersecurity policy in the Office of the DOD Chief Information Officer. And it remains unclear when the cards will be universally fielded across the civilian government. Keep reading →

The Obama administration is getting ready to change the way the government handles cybersecurity.

The White House has drafted an executive order, a draft of which is currently circulating among federal agencies for approval, mirroring cyber legislation that recently failed to get through a Senate vote. Among other things, the order shunts much of the enforcement and management of cybersecurity issues to federal agencies. We understand that, contrary to some earlier news reports, the classified portion of the order does not contain significant new authorities but details those already existing. Keep reading →

The push to adopt continuous monitoring as a more advanced means for ensuring network security can only work if other network technologies are made secure, said a leading computer scientist from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Agencies need to understand the underlying security issues, beyond what continuous monitoring can offer, because adversaries can take advantage of weaknesses to bring down network capabilities, said Ron Ross, senior computer scientist and fellow at NIST. Ross (pictured above, seated far left) made the remarks at the recent Symantec Government Symposium on government security practices. Keep reading →

The power of big data like cloud computing and mobility – has emerged as a transformational technology force, but one that poses a host of planning questions for senior government agency officials. Peter Mell, a senior computer scientist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, devoted many months assessing the potential and the pitfalls of big data for NIST. He recently shared what he learned and what executives need to understand about big data in an interview with AOL Government’s Wyatt Kash.

Mell outlined some of the misunderstandings and tradeoffs associated with large scale data sets agencies are likely to encounter as they move beyond classic relational databases. He also talked about the importance cloud computing plays in facilitating big data analytics. And he shared with our readers a comprehensive slide presentation that puts many of the questions about big data and related security implications into perspective. Keep reading →

A scientist working with the federal government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado in Boulder has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced today.

David J. Wineland and Serge Haroche, a professor at Collège de France and École Normale Supérieure, in Paris, were jointly recognized for their respective work in observing and analyzing the fundamental interactions between light particles and matter. Keep reading →

Cybersecurity is on the top of many public and private sector IT agendas these days. But while organizations focus on the software and hardware to police networks, they often don’t consider the standards necessary to have all those defenses working together, or the possible cost savings that can be achieved through improved cybersecurity.

Standards and guidelines are often overlooked in the cybersecurity space in favor of cost savings, said Donna Dodson, deputy cybersecurity advisor at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Keep reading →

E-mail, the World Wide Web, social media, and the cloud have led to outdated privacy laws that have left federal officials perplexed about how to collect and use information about citizens, even those suspected of crimes.

The Government Accountability Office’s latest of several reports on the issue recommends Congress act to update federal law to align with modern technologies. Keep reading →

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has just released the draft of recommendations for addressing mobile device security. Among other points, the draft document recommends implementing centralized management technologies for both organization-issued and personally-owned mobile devices.

The update is considered timely and important due to the dramatic increase in the last two years of smartphone and tablet penetration, the variety of mobile devices and the pressure from employees to use their own devices. Keep reading →

This is one in a series of profiles on the 2012 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal finalists. The awards, presented by the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, recognize outstanding federal employees whose important, behind-the-scenes work is advancing the health, safety and well-being of Americans and are among the most prestigious honors given to civil servants. This profile features Jacob Taylor, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Taylor is a finalist for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, Call to Service category.

Jacob Taylor, a young physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has made pioneering scientific discoveries that in time could lead to significant advances in health care, communications, computing and technology. Keep reading →

Verizon is teaming up with a Vienna, Va., provider of government-grade encrypted voice-calling software to deliver secure mobile calling capabilities to the U.S. government.

In what Verizon described as a collaborative strategic agreement with Cellcrypt, the two companies expect to release a jointly marketed mobile voice-encryption solution this fall designed to meet the needs of military, intelligence and civilian agencies. Keep reading →

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