Government Is the Biggest Cybersecurity Threat

October 2, 2015

Tom Risen

Government workers see their own agencies as a bigger cybersecurity threat than hackers from China or Russia, according to a new survey.

The Obama administration has worked to boost the networks of the federal government, which have endured a string of data breaches in recent years, including the massive theft of information on an estimated 21.5 million federal employees or job applicants from the databases of the Office of Personnel Management. The hack is thought to have originated in China, but the biggest threat is in Washington, D.C., according to a new survey of federal IT workers sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and conducted by the Ponemon Institute.

The biggest threat to federal cybersecurity is “the negligent insider” at an agency who fails to take enough precautions while using or protecting government networks, according to 44 percent of federal workers responding to the survey. Only 30 percent of respondents stated that nation-state hackers were the primary threat, according to the survey. Hacks known as “zero-day attacks,” so-called because they have never been used publicly, and mistakes by third-party government contractors each tallied 36 percent as the primary threat among respondents.

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