Many questions remain after the State Department reveals last weekend that their computers were hacked into.
I’ll admit it. Whenever I hear anything about cybercrime and hacking I immediately think of the 1995 classic ‘Hackers’, then my mind goes directly to this, which leads me to laugh hysterically for the next 3-5 minutes, thus ending my thought process on cybersecurity. But the truth is cybersecurity – especially within government institutions – have become a major concern over the past few years. That wake-up call might have come a few days ago.
On Sunday the State Department reported that an “activity of concern” was detected within their systems. Supposedly it happened the same time that the White House computers were breached, which were originally reported in October. Due to the breach in security, they would be shutting down the entire unclassified email system as technicians repair the damage the hack might have caused. This has many individuals worried because shutting down a system of that size is unprecedented for the State Department.
While the State Department continues to stress that their classified network was unaffected, many on Capitol Hill are demanding more answers on the security breach. The House Oversight Committee sent a formal request yesterday to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for details about the breach, specifically when it was discovered. Many within the government have shown concern in the past regarding cybersecurity within the State Department.
In fact many auditors have long warned about the State Department being susceptible to cyber-attacks. Multiple reports have shown that annual compliance scores on cybersecurity have steadily dropped since 2010. Also in a recent report from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, they placed the State Department as one of the worst agencies in terms of cybersecurity.
With more threats of cyber-attacks coming from other state departments and outside organizations, the US might have to take a long hard look at how vulnerable their networks actually are. After all, this guy will always be out there.
[Photo Credit: Reuters, Google Images]