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GCN : May 2015
[BrieFing] 10 GCN MAY 2015 • GCN.COM CATALOG.ARCHIVES.GOV The Center for Internet Security an- nounced the availability of Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) for a variety of operating systems, which will enable organizations to reduce time, cost and risk in their cloud deployments. Offered via the Amazon Web Serv- ices Marketplace, the AMIs are hard- ened according to secure configuration baselines prescribed by the center’s expert consensus teams. The AMIs are available for organizations using Ama- zon Elastic Compute Cloud and for six CIS benchmark-hardened systems: Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS, Red Hat En- terprise Linux 6 and 7, Amazon Linux 2014.09, Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 and CentOS 7. The AMIs, which can be obtained on demand on a computer-hour basis, are the only virtual machines avail- able in the cloud that are precon- figured according to the center’s internationally recognized secure configuration recommendations. “The need for flexible, affordable and secure resources is urgent, and as more organizations move their busi- ness into the cloud, the CIS AMIs are a cost-effective way for entities in the public and private sectors to custom- ize solutions that meet their needs,” said William Pelgrin, the center’s CEO. CIS produces consensus-based secure configuration benchmarks and content and serves as a cybersecurity resource for state, local, territorial and tribal governments. • CIS offers pre-hardened resources for Amazon cloud BY SUSAN MILLER The Army has been looking for a new source of support for its Windows XP users. According to a recent request for information, the Army said it would be ending its support contract with Microsoft but wanted to ensure it could still avoid security vulnerabili- ties on its 8,000 Microsoft Windows XP devices. After Microsoft ended software updates for the popular operating system in April 2014, the company offered custom support at a cost of $200 per device for the first year. After that first year, the cost of custom support was expected to double, Michael Silver, vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner’s mobile and client computing group, told GCN sister publication Redmond last year. The Army was seeking a company that could provide continued coverage for security updates for vulnerabilities rated “critical” and security hotfixes rated “important” from May 1, 2015, through April 30, 2016, while the Army continued its migration from the outdated operating system. Moving off XP has not been easy for agencies with legacy applications. Earlier this year, Labor Department CIO Dawn Leaf said her agency still had 10,000 machines running Win- dows XP, despite efforts to upgrade. And even though Microsoft has not officially supported Windows XP for the past year, some 250 million ma- chines were still actively using the OS in March 2015, according to market analysts. • Army seeks alternative for Windows XP support BY SUSAN MILLER retro tech GCN has covered government IT since 1982, and the technology started earlier still. To wit: In November 1959, Jonnie Daw performed a final run on Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ’s Univac mainframe as several of her colleagues looked on. (Energy Department photo by Donald Cooksey) 0515gcn_006-012.indd 10 4/30/15 9:34 AM