The inspector general attributed the "misunderstanding"

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Commerce Dept. Wasted $2.7 Million In 'Misunderstanding' Over Hacker Threat, Inspector General Finds

The U.S. Commerce Department destroyed more than $170,000 worth of desktops, printers, TVs, cameras and computer mice to remove from its network an infection that had been vastly overstated, according to a newly released audit.

The action was "clearly unnecessary," according to the report from the Department's inspector general, which said a small agency within the Commerce Department had "overstated" the extent of malicious software on its network dating to December 2011.

The agency, the Economic Development Administration, spent more than $2.7 million -- more than half its IT budget for the year -- responding to what it believed was a serious cyber attack, including hiring a contractor to further investigate.

The inspector general's findings reflect what experts say is a broader problem in the federal government -- a shortage of employees with the necessary expertise to analyze and respond to cyber attacks in their network.

Back in 2011, the Commerce Department's Computer Incident Response Team identified 146 pieces of IT equipment possibly infected when in fact just two showed signs of suspicious activity, the inspector general found.

The inspector general attributed the "misunderstanding" to "inaccurate analysis" and "serious long-standing deficiencies" in the agency's security program.

But at the time, the agency's officials "remained convinced that there could be extremely persistent malware somewhere" in its network, and believed that hackers backed by a foreign government may have been behind the malware, the report found.

However, the inspector general said it found no evidence of widespread malware. "In the end, nothing identified on EDA’s components posed a significant risk to EDA’s operations," the report said.

"The destruction of IT components was clearly unnecessary because only common malware was present" on the agency's systems, according to the IG report.

The Commerce Department agreed with the findings and said it had already implemented some of the inspector general's recommendations, including "hiring experienced and certified incident handlers."

Visa had a small launch for V.me in the US last year and began trialing the new service in Europe late last year. Currently, users in the US, UK, Canada, Spain and France can sign up for the service.

Visa is hoping that as it rolls V.me to other regions, online shopping across countries will be made easier and secure as well.

"Our vision is to make it a global service… if the [US-based] merchant ships to Australia and if they're accepting V.me on their website, then there is no reason why an Australian consumer can't use their V.me wallet. Our goal is to create that experience for every other country," Kalra said.

"Any debit card that is accepted online, could be used in the V.me wallet… Merchants at the end have to decide which cards they accept," he added.

From its launch date in Australia, Greg Storey said that users will be able to use V.me essentially straight away with any online stores that utilises Visa's service and ships to Australia.
NFC, PayWave and the future

Storey went on to say that with the emergence of e-commerce, V.me will be a platform that evolves with new technologies and consumer trends.

One such trend, Kalra said, was that more and more Australians are moving away from cash. Visa sees a future where everyone instead uses NFC-enabled mobile devices for in-store payments through PayWave in conjunction with V.me.

"PayWave will move from a piece of plastic to your mobile device, and that's starting to happen already in Australia. At the same time, V.me will come from a PC world to a more mobile world," Kalra said.The Michael Kors Outlet Online Store sale cheap Michael Kors Handbags with discount price and excellent quality, 30-60% off, fast shipping and no tax!


Storey said that one of the perks of V.me will be that users will still get the visual experience of using their card in this kind of setting, though it will just be in digital form on your mobile device. Loyalty cards and rewards will also be implemented in the future.

Storey indicated that further down the road, users could also store prepaid currency cards on V.me as a debit card for use in other countries.

 

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