Is There Any Part of Government That Hasn't Been Hacked Yet?

Frank Konkel | | September 10, 2014

Cybersecurity has been touted by the Obama administration as one of its top technology priorities over the past several years, but heightened visibility alone has done little to deter adversaries that include state-sponsored hackers, hackers for hire, cyber syndicates and terrorists.  Consider the testimony today from some of the nation’s top cybersecurity experts before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.  Suzanne Spaulding, undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, told lawmakers DHS’ National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center – or NCCIC – has already responded to more than 600,000 cyber incidents this fiscal year.

In response to many of those incidents, NCCIC issued more than 10,000 actionable alerts to recipients to help protect their systems and in 78 instances deployed on-site teams to provide technical assistance.  High-profile cyber breaches – such as those affecting Target, Home Depot and even celebrities’ private photos – trickle out on a near daily basis. But it’s clear the vulnerabilities aren’t relegated to the commercial sector.  When committee members asked Robert Anderson, the executive assistant director for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services branch, how much of government hasn’t been hacked yet, he offered a stark reply.

Despite demurring that he probably couldn’t answer the question exactly “off the top of his head,” Anderson said any part of government that hasn’t been hacked yet probably has been hacked – and hasn’t realized it yet.  “The bottom line is, we’re losing a lot of data, money and innovation” to adversaries in cyberspace, he said...