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US Government Cybersecurity: Threats and Urgent Need for Improvement

August 23, 2018

The US government is among the 18 industries, next to financial services, transportation, healthcare, and others, that have significant issues with data breaches and hacks. What was once shocking and novel has become a problematic way of life. Technology has become an essential part of human progress and development with many individuals, groups, and countries competing for technological superiority, and they are targeting government networks.

 

Major Cyber Security Threats to the Governmental Network

 

A cybersecurity report, prepared in collaboration with DHS (Department of Homeland Security) suggested that the inadequacies, gaps, and failures were evenly distributed across the entire network. Out of 96 in total, 71 federal agencies were deemed to be at risk of cyber attack due to unpreparedness or failing to put in place the fundamental processes for dealing with cybersecurity risks.

 

The situation needs to be addressed immediately because all of this presents federal agencies as unable to identify or even respond to a massive cyber attack.

 

 

Key Areas that Need Improvement

 

Inability to Recognize Threats

 

Out of 30,000 attacks that occurred in 2016, federal agencies couldn’t even identify the threat in 38% of the cases according to the OMB report. Not even knowing where the threats are coming from is perhaps the most damaging to federal network security. And that is the first step in any defense – being able to plan a response by raising the level of situational awareness and being able to recognize the scale and scope of the event.

 

Lack of Standardizes Processes

 

Another issue is the lack of standardized processes as only half of the federal agencies can detect and whitelist threatening software on their network systems. About 59% of them have standardized procedures to communicate the threats to users, so even if the threat is identified, many agencies still don’t have a way to tell their users what’s happening.

 

Lack of Real-Time Visibility

 

What is happening within the networks of federal agencies? They don’t know what the issues are because they lack real-time visibility into their systems regarding cybersecurity risks. The OMB report shows that only 27% of federal agencies can recognize and investigate unauthorized attempts to access large volumes of data at one time. It means that, if cybercriminals were to get inside a network to collect user data, many federal agencies wouldn’t notice it (or would, but not until it’s too late.)

 

The security system of the US federal government needs to change and step up their defense because it is vulnerable to cyber attacks. The last year’s NotPetya attack (for which the US and UK blame Russia) cost American companies hundreds of millions of dollar. And attacks like the breach at the Office of Personnel Management (2015) have given sensitive information to other governments that could be used to blackmail the American government and citizens.

 

To make a network more secure and become better at protecting their system, one must be involved in understanding, monitoring, and responding to cyber risks. Titanium Cobra Solutions offers out of the box solutions when it comes to network security as well as staff training services. Our team is solution-oriented and always ready to help design, develop, implement, and maintain your IT systems.

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