Morning Security Brief: U.S. Offers Ukraine $1 Billion; ATMs Face Major Security Risk; GAO Report on Electronic Health Records

By Holly Gilbert

► As unrest and turmoil continue in Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the capital city of Kiev today to show support for the interim government, and to announce that the United States has offered a $1 billion energy subsidy to the nation. But focus has shifted from Ukraine’s capital, where president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted just days ago, to southeastern region of Crimea where 16,000 pro-Russian troops have taken over security and administrative infrastructure. The United States has prepared economic sanctions in an attempt attempt to curb Russia’s control of the Ukranian peninsula, but the Associated Press reports that Russian president Vladimir Putin said he won’t be deterred by economic sanctions “imposed punitively by the West.”

► CNN Money reports that an estimated 95 percent of American bank ATMs are reaching the end of their security support, leaving them vulnerable to hackings and other cyberattacks. On April 8, the Windows XP operating system will no longer be supported by Microsoft, meaning security upgrades and software patches will no longer be available. Customers whose banks do not change operating systems or get extended tech support could be at risk of having their information compromised, as any new vulnerabilities in the operating systems could go undetected. Some banks are cutting deals with Microsoft to extend tech support on the operating system before they replace their ATMs. According to Retail Banking Research, a London firm, 200,000 of the nation’s 210,500 bank ATMs run on Windows XP. 

► A report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) need to move forward with plans to maintain separate but interoperable electronic health records systems. Originally the two departments had planned to roll out a $9 billion dollar plan to create a single system containing both sets of records, but later revised that initiative to update the DoD’s legacy systems and also upgrade the VA’s proprietary system (the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, or VistA). According to the GAO report, “Even though VA and DoD have determined that their electronic health record system needs overlap, the departments have neither removed long-standing barriers to working together to address their common needs nor positioned the Interagency Program Office for effective collaboration going forward."


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