Cybersecurity Still a Work in Progress for Many Organizations

Posted on Apr 14, 2015

The topic of cybersecurity has seen renewed attention in recent months. The private sector has seen breaches in the health care space and there has been plenty of focus on the issue by the U.S. government. The cybersecurity bill has been fast-tracked to an extent through Congress, with a vote expected sooner than later in the current legislative session. The intrusion into the White House's own servers, alleged to have originated in Russia, has also been a major topic of discussion. This most recent incident should provide a reminder that no organization - whether a privately held business or a public-sector institution - is safe from the potential for an informational breach.


The White House and Department of State situation
The Obama administration announced that its own data had been unlawfully accessed in early April, raising plenty of questions related to cyber defense for the government as a whole. The hack was the second involving a high-profile federal entity in about a month, as the U.S. Department of State was also hacked in early March. That breach has been considered by many as the worst such attack on the U.S. government in history, as the cybercriminals involved had extensive access to email servers at the State Department for the better part of a year, according to CNN. Security personnel at the State Department still aren't entirely sure that the backdoor access to their email servers has been eliminated, and they are still working to create a completely secure environment.


Less severe intrusion at the White House
CBS News reported the White House breach wasn't as severe as the State Department's, with the news organization's senior security analyst noting that the hackers were only able to access the unsecured portion of the White House's servers. The most sensitive information held by the Obama administration is strongly protected. However, it's still not a good sign or a positive example when the White House's databanks are breached by hackers.

While hackers from Russia are suspected in both incidents, neither have been conclusively proven to actually originate from Russian interests. Even if geographical location can be determined, it will be hard to conclusively say whether such efforts were made on the part of the Russian government or simply sprang from an unaffiliated group or individual.


A continuing issue
Cybersecurity won't become any less pressing of an issue in the years ahead, whether it's for federal and state government agencies or businesses. Having the right systems in place to detect cyber threats and protect sensitive data is crucial.


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