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IT Incompetent Fed IT Company Accenture and CISO Nicole Dean Ransomwared, National Security In Danger

By Duane Thresher, Ph.D.          August 13, 2021

I told you so. Almost 3 years ago I wrote Fed IT Run By Enron's Corrupt Accountant, IT Incompetent Accenture, with an accompanying entry (now updated) in the IT Incompetents Hall Of Shame for Accenture Federal Services Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Nicole Dean, who only has a fake IT education and has made a profitable career of doing cybersecurity for national security government agencies/businesses. IT incompetent Nicole Dean is still Accenture CISO, responsible for cybersecurity, and recently Accenture finally publicly admitted that it had been ransomwared. Being ransomwared means being hacked, i.e. a data breach, with hackers having gained access to files; otherwise they could not encrypt those files and hold them for ransom. With Accenture doing much federal IT, that means that hackers have access to government files, just like in The Doomsday Microsoft Government Email Data Breach. It's already bad enough that supposedly friendly foreign countries have access to these U.S. Government files, since Accenture is a foreign-owned company, and that Accenture is corrupt and willing to fraudulently take money from the government. But now Accenture has been hacked/ransomwared by hackers supported by Russia; see U.S. Surrenders in IT War, Starts Paying Tribute to Russia.

In Fed IT Run By Enron's Corrupt Accountant, IT Incompetent Accenture I used the example of Accenture doing the IT of the General Services Administration (GSA), which, notoriously wastefully, does procurement, including IT services, for the U.S. Government. But IT incompetent Accenture does IT for much more of the federal government. An even more painful example is Accenture being paid $563 million to do the IT for from 2014 to 2019, during which time was hacked; see Hacked. This was after Accenture had already failed doing the British equivalent of, but still made millions from the British government in the process before work stopped.

In 2018, Accenture was given a $300 million contract from the U.S. Government to recruit 7,500 Customs and Border Protection officers. Disregarding the sheer stupidity of having a foreign-owned company provide border protection officers, this is $40,000 per officer recruited, which is more than the annual salary of an officer. Even so, after 10 months and contract termination, Accenture had only recruited 2 officers, but had been paid $14 million.

Incompetence breeds disloyalty and corruption. As described in Fed IT Run By Enron's Corrupt Accountant, IT Incompetent Accenture, Accenture was corrupt from its founding. Enron was the notorious electricity supply corporation that turned out to be a massive fraud and did things like causing blackouts for millions of Californians in order to drive up the price of electricity. Arthur Andersen was a top-five accounting firm that worked for Enron and was dissolved, just after it spun off Accenture, after it was found criminally complicit in Enron's massive fraud.

As described in Fed IT Run By Enron's Corrupt Accountant, IT Incompetent Accenture and in her IT Incompetents Hall Of Shame entry, Accenture Federal Services Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Nicole Dean is IT incompetent. An IT education is the most important IT credential and Nicole Dean has a fake IT education. She only has a 1-year(!) Master of Science in Management in information systems security from Colorado Technical University (CTU). Colorado Technical University — nothing officially to do with the State of Colorado, although that association was probably fraudulently intended — is a notorious for-profit college providing worthless educations, to employers who are even a little knowledgeable, and worthless degrees, to those few who can afford to pay the exorbitant tuition long enough to get one. The federal government would not provide educational loans to those attending CTU, so should not accept an education from it as a qualification for government jobs, including contractors actually doing those jobs. No other college so essentially Dean didn't even go to college.

Incredibly, even before this fake IT education (Sep 2003 – May 2004), Nicole Dean was (Aug 1999 – Oct 2001) a network instructor (see What Is IT? Networking) at Pikes Peak Community College (see No IT Education: For-Profit and Community Colleges, Other Training in Principles of IT Incompetence).

Protecting against hackers, i.e. cybersecurity, is exactly a Chief Information Security Officer's job, so the recent Accenture data breach is IT incompetent CISO Nicole Dean's fault (but see IT Hiring: No Personal Consequences for IT Incompetence, Just Excuses in Principles of IT Incompetence). Further, this Accenture data breach may have affected all of the government agencies that Accenture provides IT services for, including national security agencies.

Worse, IT incompetent Nicole Dean has made a profitable career, via the government-business revolving door, of doing cybersecurity for government agencies, particularly those doing national security and many of which were hacked during The Doomsday Microsoft Government Email Data Breach. According to Nicole Dean's LinkedIn page, which she herself wrote:

From Nov 2001 – Apr 2004, working for Computer Sciences Corporation and starting even before her fake IT education, IT incompetent Nicole Dean was manager of a world-wide classified network for NASA National Security Systems, including being involved with the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster. (See also IT incompetent Sean Gallagher, NASA Glenn Research Center post data breach Chief Information Officer (CIO), who has a fake IT education from the University of Phoenix, another notorious for-profit college.)

From Apr 2004 – Dec 2006, IT incompetent Nicole Dean was manager of a world-wide classified network for the Defense Intelligence Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Intelligence Community, which includes the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA). (See also IT incompetent Edward Snowden, traitorous CIA and NSA IT tech, who has no IT education, he's a high school dropout, and IT incompetent John Edwards, CIA CIO and former Accenture(!) employee, who has a fake IT education from ITT Technical Institute, another notorious for-profit college.) Also during this time, from Jan 2006 – Dec 2006, IT incompetent Nicole Dean was senior network engineer for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

From Jan 2007 – Oct 2008, IT incompetent Nicole Dean was manager of a world-wide classified network for the Defense Information Systems Agency, which, among other U.S. military, does IT for the Secretary of Defense and the President. (See also IT incompetent Kevin Nally, Secret Service CIO, who has no IT education, only a BS in agronomy and crop science and a Master's in ship building, and IT incompetent Suzette Kent, former Federal CIO and former Accenture(!) employee who while Fed CIO swung federal IT services contracts to Accenture and who has no IT education.)

From Oct 2008 – Jan 2012, IT incompetent Nicole Dean was Director of the National Cyber Security Division, part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). See IT incompetent Jeanette Manfra, DHS Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity, who has no IT education, and Handing Over America's Electrical Grid to the Russians, which tries to explain the changing tangle of U.S. Government cybersecurity agencies and officials.

From Jan 2012 – Sep 2015, IT incompetent Nicole Dean was Director of Cyber Business for Raytheon, a major defense and intelligence contractor, including for cybersecurity. Next, from Oct 2015 – Jun 2017, right before IT incompetent Nicole Dean joined Accenture, probably being hired because she was a woman, she was Global CIO for Goodyear.

Depending on when Nicole Dean's LinkedIn page was read, she became Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Accenture Federal Services in either Jan 2017 (new) or Jun 2017 (old).

In Oct 2017, under IT incompetent CISO Nicole Dean, a researcher discovered and made public, only after which Accenture admitted to it, that Accenture exposed data that could be used to hack both Accenture and its clients, on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 storage ("buckets") system. I've used AWS S3 storage and each bucket has a public/private setting; public is used for things like static (no scripts) webpages, private for data storage like Accenture was trying to do. When setting up a bucket, AWS S3 gives multiple warnings about this public/private setting; you would have to be a complete incompetent to miss this.

Probably due to the insecure data on AWS S3, Accenture was hacked and ransomwared in Jul 2021, under IT incompetent CISO Nicole Dean. This was discovered by someone monitoring hacking group chatter, which included the hackers announcing Accenture's hacking/ransomwaring, the availability of the stolen data, and (rightfully) ridiculing Accenture's cybersecurity. Accenture only admitted, in Aug 2021, to being hacked after it was made public by this person, weeks after Accenture knew. Accenture would give no details and said only that "operations were not impacted". However, that doesn't mean data wasn't stolen, and in fact 6 TB of data, equivalent to 6 million 1 MB files, was stolen. Almost certainly, many of these files were sensitive client files, like for government agencies.

The Accenture hacking/ransomwaring group was Lockbit. Like the Colonial Pipeline hacking/ransomwaring group, DarkSide — see U.S. Surrenders in IT War, Starts Paying Tribute to Russia — Lockbit is a hacking group that attacks strategic targets of only the U.S. and its allies, with the backing of Russia and from Russian soil; part of Russia's waging of IT war on the U.S.

I told you so: Stop IT incompetence, IT's destroying US.