REPORT: U.S. Government Computer Systems At Risk

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According to a recent government report, nothing has been done over the last decade to secure U.S. government computer systems. The report identified a host of weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the system that could lead to a catastrophic cyber-attack on America.

The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the government’s critical networks are “riddled with security vulnerabilities.”

According to the GAO report, investigators “consistently identified shortcomings in the federal government’s approach to ensuring the security of federal information systems and cyber critical infrastructure as well as its approach to protecting the privacy of personally identifiable information (PII).”

The report goes on to say:

“Over the past several years, GAO has made about 2,500 recommendations to federal agencies to enhance their information security programs and controls. As of February 2017, about 1,000 recommendations had not been implemented.”

The report claims cyber security issues with the U.S. government computer systems have been a concern since 1997, yet remain unresolved.

“Federal information systems and networks are inherently at risk. They are highly complex and dynamic, technologically diverse, and often geographically dispersed. This complexity increases the difficulty in identifying, managing, and protecting the myriad of operating systems, applications, and devices comprising the systems and networks.

The risk is exacerbated due to longstanding issues with security that has left the federal network “riddled with security vulnerabilities. Systems used by federal agencies are often riddled with security vulnerabilities—both known and unknown.”

According to research conducted by the agency, the number of cyber-attacks against the U.S. government has grown each year; each incident is reported directly to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

The GAO report also states this frightening fact:

“Between 2006 and 2015, the number of reported security breaches grew from 5,503 to 77,183, which accounts for a 1,303 percent increase.”

If a breach should occur in the U.S. government’s financial computer system, for example, unknown entities could easily access an unlimited resource of personal and financial information.

The GAO reported on “wide-ranging improvements” which it says are necessary to begin the long-overdue process of protecting the U.S. government and its citizens from cyber-attacks.

The report stated, “The security over these systems is inconsistent and additional actions are needed to address ongoing cybersecurity and privacy challenges. The U.S. government should “fully implement” an organization-wide security crackdown to protect against future breaches. Efforts to bolster the cybersecurity of the nation’s critical infrastructure be strengthened.”

H/T: Free Beacon

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