Nation-State Hackers the Biggest Threat to Government Cybersecurity
According to a survey from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the biggest threat to government cybersecurity comes from nation-state sponsored hackers.
Federal networks are constantly under cyberattack, particularly those “high-impact systems” throughout the government, classified as such because of the “severe or catastrophic adverse effect on organizational operations, organizational assets or individuals” that would leave the agency unable to fulfill its mission.
Out of the 24 major agencies surveyed by GAO, 18 had high-impact systems and at all 18 agencies, GAO analysts found that nation-state actors are the most frequent and serious threat to these systems.
“Our high-impact systems contain sensitive information that we cannot afford to have breached by outside groups,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), Ranking Member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC). “While our defenses are getting stronger, these attacks are getting more sophisticated.”
Additionally, GAO cites data reported to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), which underscores that cyberattacks of federal networks increased by 1,303% in 10 years – from 5,503 incidents in 2006 ballooning to 77,183 in 2015.
“Foreign nations continue to work to penetrate federal networks and information systems to access our government’s sensitive information,” said HSGAC Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI). “I remain concerned that federal agencies are not fulfilling their responsibilities under the law to secure federal information systems. Our committee is asking agencies to respond to these findings and will monitor progress to ensure that federal agencies follow the law and take adequate precautions to protect sensitive information.”
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