Most people think of the government as a highly secure entity. However, since the announcement of the Office of Personnel Management breach in early June, many are posing the question: Is government cybersecurity really up to par?
Cyberattack resulted in significant information leak
To understand where the OPM’s security measures failed, it’s important to first examine the cyber infiltration. According to NPR, a group of Chinese hackers was responsible for the breach. NPR also stated that the OPM breach jeopardized the personal information and security codes of at least 14 million people, which is significantly higher than the 4 million government employees that CNN initially reported. On his campaign website, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee claimed that this may be the largest cyberattack in U.S. history. While it is still unclear what purpose the hackers have for the stolen information, the infiltration creates a multitude of grievous national security issues.
“In 2013, 22% of Homeland Security’s
cybersecurity positions went unfilled.”
Unfilled cybersecurity positions create vulnerabilities
CNBC stated that out-of-date systems and substandard password regulations were initially to blame for the attack, but the reality is that government agencies are severely lacking in information security employees. It’s a difficult situation for the government to remedy, however, as the demand for cybersecurity professionals greatly outnumbers the supply. In fact, in a 2013 report, the Government Accountability Office stated that 22 percent of the positions in the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity division went unfilled.
Cybersecurity jobs are only going to grow in importance. The government isn’t alone in its need for trained cybersecurity professionals. According to PBS Newsroom, nearly 210,000 of jobs posted in the field were also unfilled, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that the need for individuals skilled in the cybersecurity and information protection fields will increase by 37 percent in the next seven years. With the right training, you could be on the front lines of this digital battlefield.
To find out more about how Excelsior College can prepare you for a career in the highly in-demand field of cybersecurity, visit our website now.