When Cyber Talk wrote on this topic a couple of weeks ago, things were not looking good from a cybersecurity perspective. Now, the situation seems even more grim as the partial government shutdown heads past the 33-day mark.
The Washington Post notes that even though the majority of cybersecurity workers are on the job (whether or not they’re getting paid), resources they can usually rely on are unavailable, severely hampering investigations. Detecting cyber crime requires significantly more cash than investigating other types of crime due to the fact that electronic records must be obtained through third-parties who require payment. According to a report from the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), the FBI reported an inability to compensate two of its cyber assault informants, and therefore could not obtain necessary information, writes The Post. Another cyber investigation collapsed due to the fact that the FBI could not effectively engage with furloughed workers.
An emergency directive on Tuesday strongly urged government agencies to ramp up security for their web infrastructures and DNS records, which connect website URLs to IP addresses. Putting the risk in context, The Verge writes, “If an attacker can compromise those records, they can redirect the URL to an address they control, effectively hijacking the site without compromising any of the underlying infrastructure beyond the DNS entry. From there, attackers can use the hijacked site to seed malware or simply spread chaos, depending on their goals.”
The diminished workforce means that implementation may be slow to update and secure sites. Although essential cyber security functions are proceeding normally, the lack of human support has created information gaps, leading to dubious blind spots in security strategies.
Brian Krebs from KrebsOnSecurity writes, “Even if lawmakers move forward on new proposals to reopen the government, sources say the standoff is likely to have serious repercussions for federal law enforcement agencies for years to come.”
The longer the shutdown, the longer the recovery time. When the October 2013 shutdown occurred for fiscal year 2014, it was months before the FBI was back to normal operations, the former chief of staff for the FBI’s cyber division told The Post. That shutdown was only 16 days.
In an industry that has already been challenged by a cybersecurity talent shortage, the government shutdown deepens the issue. The cracks are beginning to show.
Get the full story at The Washington Post