Report: U.S. Government Dead Last Among Major Industries in Cybersecurity Protections

April 14, 2016

U.S. government organizations have the worst ranking cybersecurity protections when compared to more than a dozen private industries, including construction, food, and hospitality, according to a report released Thursday.

Despite 35 major data breaches occurring during the past year, federal agencies have done little to address security vulnerabilities, the SecurityScorecard study found.

The report analyzed the government’s cybersecurity strength across local, state, and federal levels, assessing performance using 10 categories, including "vulnerability to malware infections, exposure rates of passwords, and susceptibility to social engineering such as an employee using corporate account information on a public social network," Yahoo News first reported.

The study then compared the findings to cybersecurity systems across 17 major industries, finding that the government on every level falls to the bottom in protections.

Space exploration agency NASA had the least secure network out of the 600 government agencies studied with vulnerabilities to email spoofing and malware breaches.

The State Department, Treasury Department, and Labor Department also ranked among the bottom ten federal organizations with the weakest security measures.

The information technology systems in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington, Missouri, Indiana, and South Carolina were also among the weakest in the government.

President Obama pledged $19 billion in February to bolster the U.S.’s cybersecurity infrastructure after more than 21 million people had personal data, including social security numbers and fingerprints, stolen in the July 2015 Office of Personnel Management data hack.

Obama announced Thursday that he created a commission tasked with solving cyber vulnerabilities that includes top executives from the National Security Agency, MasterCard, and Microsoft.

Private organizations scored far above the government in security ratings, according to the report.

Information services, construction, food, retail, and manufacturing among the top ten performing industries.

Strong performing government organizations included the CIA, Federal Trade Commission, and Capitol Architect.