Cybersecurity Comedy: When the State Department Forgot to Press ‘Go’ on Its Risk Strategy!

“State Department Cybersecurity Failures” are akin to a fortress guard wearing a blindfold. Despite having a risk strategy, they’ve forgotten to switch it on – like buying a high-tech home security system and leaving it off. With outdated systems, a federated chaos, and the absence of continuous monitoring, they’re just inviting cyber threats for a dance.

Hot Take:

It seems the US State Department has been playing the proverbial ostrich, burying its head in the sand while cyber threats have been frolicking around their outdated IT systems. The department reportedly wrote a risk management strategy, patted itself on the back, and then… promptly forgot to actually implement it. It’s like buying a high-tech security system for your home and then not bothering to switch it on.

Key Points:

  • The US State Department has not implemented an effective cybersecurity risk program, leaving it vulnerable to cyberattacks.
  • Auditors from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that the State Department lacks oversight of its IT security posture due to its federated structure and “insulated culture”.
  • The department operates numerous systems and software installations that have reached their end of life, making them susceptible to known exploits.
  • Around 56% of systems were operating without proper authorization, with 15 high-value assets and seven high-risk systems among them.
  • The GAO made 15 recommendations to the State Department to boost cybersecurity standards.

Need to know more?

A State of Denial

The State Department, responsible for diplomacy and US foreign policy, can't seem to find diplomatic solutions to its own IT security issues. The GAO report found that the department has no comprehensive monitoring in place, which is a bit like trying to guard a fortress while blindfolded.

A Vintage Collection

The Department is running a vintage IT show with some operating systems reaching their end-of-life over 13 years ago. That's like trying to run a modern city with a horse and buggy. With no upgrades in sight, the department's IT infrastructure is a sitting duck for known exploits.

Federated Fiasco

The GAO places part of the blame on the State Department's federated structure, which divides IT management responsibilities. This has led to a lack of effective oversight of the department's IT security posture and communication issues, making their IT infrastructure as secure as a sieve.

Carry On Breaching

The State Department's lack of a continuous monitoring strategy and an incident response process are putting it at risk. If not rectified, it's like leaving the doors wide open for cyber threats to waltz right in.

Recommendations and Regrets

The GAO made 15 recommendations to the State Department to boost its cybersecurity standards. Whether these will be taken on board or ignored like a spam email, only time will tell.
Tags: cyberattacks, Cybersecurity Risk Program, Government Accountability Office (GAO), IT Infrastructure Security, IT Management Structure, Risk Management in Cybersecurity, US State Department