The government shutdown means that contracted cybersecurity employees are not being paid, and thus not working, which has negative effects on safety of information, especially at smaller organizations. The partial government shutdown may be making some key federal departments and agencies running with skeletal staffs more vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches, experts said.
Meanwhile, the House Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the Department of Homeland Security, said it remains in the dark about how the shutdown has affected the department’s mission to safeguard critical infrastructure from cyber attacks. Departments and agencies affected by the shutdown include the departments of State, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Commerce and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Park Service.
Absent employees could mean that agency computers go without needed security updates and lack the ability to detect network intrusions in a timely manner. Nation-state hackers could also gain insight into which U.S. computer networks are considered vital and therefore functioning during the shutdown by comparing that picture with all the networks that are seen to be working during normal times, Gann said. “A foreign intelligence organization can deduce from that who matters and who doesn’t,” he said. The House Homeland Security Committee, led by Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said the panel is concerned about the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the DHS running with significantly fewer staff. DHS has said the shutdown meant that only 57 percent of the agency’s staff would be working.
This article originally appeared on Govtech.com. To read the full article, click here.
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