If your company was in a temporary stall waiting for a budget to be passed and you had to furlough some of your IT and security staff, how secure would you feel? How long would you be willing to let that go on? The US government shutdown is heading into its 19th day as of this writing, and TechCrunch reports that Homeland Security is suffering.
While most of the government is functioning—police are still doing their jobs and NSA analysts have not left their posts fighting cybercriminals—some areas are taking a big hit.
According to Federal Computer Week (FCW), the timing of the shutdown comes at an awkward time for one particular agency under Homeland Security: The newly formed Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), operational only since November 16. “Just 56 percent of the workforce is on the job,” reports FCW. The division’s mission, as TechCrunch notes, is to defend critical national infrastructure from current, ongoing threats.
Another key agency, National Institute of Standards and Technology (better known as NIST), is also operating at reduced capacity. NIST provides cybersecurity frameworks and guidance to help promote US innovation and industrial competitiveness. TechCrunch reports that 85 percent of those employees have been sent home without pay. A notice on its website reads: “Due to a lapse in government funding, this and almost all NIST-affiliated websites will be unavailable until further notice.”
What’s more, TechCrunch notes that TSA agents responsible for airport security who are already underpaid are now unpaid. And, even Secret Service agents are operating unpaid.
The cybersecurity concerns are significant, especially since this administration has given the impression that tackling cybersecurity has not been a top priority.
TechCrunch writes that Lisa Monaco, former homeland security advisor to the president, told Axios, “Cyber threats don’t operate on Washington’s political timetable, and they don’t stop because of a shutdown.”
The irony is that the government shutdown is due to insistence on a physical border wall, which President Trump believes will keep the US safer.
Get the full story at TechCrunch.