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article imageGovernment workers unwittingly cause half of all data breaches

By Nate Smith     Nov 11, 2014 in Politics
Turns out, the biggest risk to the U.S. government's data collection and storage apparatus isn't activist hackers like Edward Snowden, but rather incompetent bureaucrats unable to distinguish a phishing scam from authentic e-mail.
An Associated Press analysis of leaks and theft of sensitive information from the federal government since 2010 has revealed that government employees are often the reason hackers and malware infect government computers, but those breaches are not intentional.
The federal government spends about $10 billion per year in an effort protect a range of sensitive information, everything from classified military information to Americans' social security numbers.
Employees from about 15 government agencies including the departments of education and defense, as well as the National Weather Service, by way of falling victim to virus-infected emails or through the theft of government-issued technology are responsible for close to half of all cyber breaches since 2010.
The government has concerned itself with technological breaches since it began storing sensitive information on computers in the 1960s. Through the years, close to $100 billion has been spent securing the government's cyber networks, with varying degrees of success.
Last year alone, the executive branch reports that about 21 percent of all federal breaches were traced to government workers who violated policies; another 16 percent were the result of workers who lost devices or had them stolen; 12 percent were caused by employees who improperly handled sensitive information printed from computers; at least 8 percent were from workers who ran or installed malicious software; and 6 percent of workers who were enticed to share private information over the Internet.
According to a report from the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, the number of cyber incidents on government computers is growing. Between 2009 and 2013 the number of incidents reported on government computers alone rose from 26,942 to 46,605.
More about Cyber security, Hackers, government data, cyber braches, information leaks
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