Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Senator Asks DoD to Secure Its Websites

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Tuesday asked the chief information officer at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to take immediate action to ensure that the organization’s websites use HTTPS.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Tuesday asked the chief information officer at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to take immediate action to ensure that the organization’s websites use HTTPS.

The senator noted that some of the DoD’s websites, such as the ones belonging to the NSA, the Army and the Air Force, do use HTTPS by default and certificates trusted by major web browsers, but many other sites either don’t use HTTPS at all or they rely on digital certificates issued by the DoD Root Certificate Authority. Certificates issued by the DoD itself trigger security warnings in browsers.

The list of websites that do not use HTTPS includes the ones of the Navy, Marines, and even the CIO’s official website hosted at

Sen. Wyden believes the security warnings displayed for HTTP sites will “erode the public’s trust in the Department and its ability to defend against sophisticated cyber threats” and “actively degrade the public’s security by teaching users to treat security warnings as irrelevant.”

The lawmaker has pointed out that memo M-15-13 issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 2015 requires all federal agencies to secure their websites by enabling HTTPS and enforcing HSTS. Furthermore, a Binding Operational Directive issued last year by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires all agencies to start using web and email security technologies such as HTTPS, DMARC and STARTTLS.

The senator also noted in his letter that Google’s Chrome web browser will soon start marking HTTP pages with a red “Not Secure” warning.

The CIO of the DoD, Dana Deasy, has been instructed to direct all agencies to enable HTTPS with HSTS on all public web services, obtain and deploy certificates trusted by major browsers, and evaluate the use of shorter-lived certificates such as the ones offered by Let’s Encrypt. An action plan and progress report must be provided by the DoD by July 20.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The senator is well regarded by many in the cybersecurity industry for his initiatives. One of his advisers in privacy researcher and activist Christopher Soghoian, formerly principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Related: Security of U.S. Government Sites Improved Only Slightly

Related: DMARC Not Implemented on Most White House Email Domains

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

SecurityWeek’s Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit brings together security practitioners from around the world to share war stories on breaches, APT attacks and threat intelligence.


Securityweek’s CISO Forum will address issues and challenges that are top of mind for today’s security leaders and what the future looks like as chief defenders of the enterprise.


Expert Insights

Related Content

Application Security

Cycode, a startup that provides solutions for protecting software source code, emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday with $4.6 million in seed funding.

Identity & Access

Zero trust is not a replacement for identity and access management (IAM), but is the extension of IAM principles from people to everyone and...

CISO Strategy

SecurityWeek spoke with more than 300 cybersecurity experts to see what is bubbling beneath the surface, and examine how those evolving threats will present...

Management & Strategy

SecurityWeek examines how a layoff-induced influx of experienced professionals into the job seeker market is affecting or might affect, the skills gap and recruitment...

Risk Management

The supply chain threat is directly linked to attack surface management, but the supply chain must be known and understood before it can be...

CISO Conversations

In this issue of CISO Conversations we talk to two CISOs about solving the CISO/CIO conflict by combining the roles under one person.

CISO Strategy

Security professionals understand the need for resilience in their company’s security posture, but often fail to build their own psychological resilience to stress.

Artificial Intelligence

ChatGPT is increasingly integrated into cybersecurity products and services as the industry is testing its capabilities and limitations.