Govt. failed to implement 'basic steps' to ensure cybersecurity, says US Senate report
A US Senate report has accused the government of failing to take even the most basic steps to secure online data and protect critical infrastructure.
Republican Tom Coburn pointed that the weaknesses in the federal government's own cybersecurity has put at risk the electrical grid, financial markets, emergency response systems and citizens' personal information.
According to The Verge, the report, which comes from the Republican side of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, states examples of recent missteps, including the fake zombie apocalypse emergency alert that went out in Montana last year, apart from a data breach related to all 85,000 dams in the US.
The Senate report said that such failures weren't due to poor practices by the private sector, but were real lapses by the federal government.
40 audits of government agencies and other internal reviews were taken into consideration to prepare the report, in which it was found that every major department in the federal government had failed to boost cybersecurity to a satisfactory level.
It was found that the Department of Homeland Security, the DHS, failed to update basic software like Microsoft applications, Adobe Acrobat and Java, while the Nuclear Regulatory Committee's (NRC) IT department displayed 'general lack of confidence' by prompting some offices to 'go rogue' by buying their own computers and networks.
The report pointed that the IRS often fails to encrypt sensitive data and it is 'dangerously slow' in implementing critical software updates, while employees are found to be using 'lousy' passwords.
(Posted on 07-02-2014)