Most Cyber Execs Don’t Think OPM Hack Changed Much

Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock.com

More than half of respondents said they weren’t sure overall information security is better off, despite a big push on information security by the Obama administration in response to the hack.

Most federal cybersecurity executives don’t think the government’s response to a major hack last summer actually helped agency security, a new survey suggests.

About 52 percent of federal information security professionals said they didn’t think the Cybersecurity Sprint -- a 30-day, White House-directed effort to shore up federal cyber hygiene -- improved their overall information security, according to findings from (ISC)2, a nonprofit dedicated to IT security training and certification.

The group interviewed 54 federal cyber executives, across defense, intelligence and civilian agencies and contractors, for their overall feelings about information security.

Sixty-five percent of respondents said they didn’t think the federal government as a whole could detect ongoing cyberattacks, and 59 percent of executives said their agencies were not able to fully understand how cyberattacks could breach their own systems, according to the survey.

“So many working in this industry are just overwhelmed,” Tony Hubbard, a principal at professional services firm KPMG, which partnered with (ISC)2 on the report, said during a panel discussion about the report in Washington on Thursday. “It’s a tough spot,” he explained, because IT shops need to keep their operations running while also trying to upgrade their security and implement top-down directives -- all with limited funding.

» Get the best federal technology news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

The White House-issued Cybersecurity National Action Plan,  which includes an effort to modernize information systems using a $3.1 billion revolving fund and installing a federal chief information security officer, has the potential to mitigate some of their challenges, respondents said.

When asked about the biggest obstacles to their cybersecurity advancement efforts, 65 percent of execs listed lack of funding, 48 percent said lack of understanding on the topic and 48 percent said lack of accountability, and the report found.

A federal CISO could begin to alleviate the accountability challenge -- 21 percent of survey respondents said there wasn’t a leader in their agencies whose sole responsibility was cybersecurity. However, that person, whose appointment is expected in the next several weeks, won’t be able to effect immediate change, said David Shearer, chief executive officer of (ISC)2 and former deputy CIO at the Interior Department.

Without a clear role and a understanding of the operational implications for the policies they recommend, “it’ll just be another person,” Shearer said. “It’s unclear how much control they’ll have,” he said. While it’s easy to issue top-down directives, he added, it’s often “just another executive order or another piece of guidance that doesn’t have any teeth.”

Lack of funding impacts agencies’ ability to recruit the necessary cyber talent, Janice Haith, deputy CIO of the Navy, said during the panel discussion. Haith said her department is trying to recruit in Silicon Valley and other tech-rich areas such as Texas, Georgia and parts of the Northeast, but is also sending employees to bulk up on cyber skills through outside classes, if talent can’t be recruited.

But with limited funding for salaries, “we’re just not competitive” with the private sector, Haith said, and often cyber talent transitions out of the Navy every few years.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.