Federal workers, law enforcement agencies, and military contractors have taken over the Washington Convention Center for the annual Federal Office Systems Exposition—better known as “FOSE” 2012.
At this year's conference, cyber security is a hot topic—especially with new legislation in the works on Capitol Hill.
Like previous years, FOSE 2012 features the latest and greatest products for federal workers and agencies—new mobile applications, cloud computing software and security hardware.
“It's very easy for a hacker to hack into your headset, record your conversations,” said Mike Smith, of Biometric Associates.
The three-day technology conference also features several sessions on cyber security—attacks not just on the government, but also businesses and regular consumers.
“They can cause very negative impacts, everything from identity theft to spying to collecting info on an individual,” said Russ Mundy of Sparta, Inc.
The Defense Department's deputy chief information officer told attendees the Pentagon is working to be more efficient and less vulnerable to cyber-attacks, due to recent budget cuts.
“So we're really trying to reduce our attack surface, so standardized and consolidating infrastructure to be easier to be accessed, more reliable and more secure,” said Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Robert Carey.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are debating new cyber security legislation. But there's disagreement about which government offices should have authority over cyber-attacks.
“Who has the right to tell someone else to do what? Who has the right to cut a network off, to leave a network running, to tell someone they have to do something because they see something happening?” said Mischel Kwon, the former director of U.S.-Cert (The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team).
Kwon warned lawmakers not to overregulate the issue.
“The adversaries are very nimble; they move quickly, they change quickly. If we are not careful with our legislation and we put too much in place too quickly, we could tie our hands and not be nimble ourselves,” Kwon said.
Some groups, like the ACLU, have also raised concerns about privacy.
“Folks are either a looking to challenge the government from being too intrusive, but the way we look at it, I prefer them to be more intrusive for the sake of protecting us,” said Todd Bellows of Logicube, Inc.