A cyber security study, conducted by the security risk benchmarking firm SecurityScorecard, compared 18 major industries with U.S. federal, state and local government agencies across ten categories.
The report, titled “2016 U.S. Government Cybersecurity Report,” was published in February of this year. It graded the current security postures of 600 local, state and federal government organizations, each with more than 1,000 public-facing IP addresses, to determine the best and worst performers across all levels of U.S. government.
The analyses measured relative security health of each entity across ten 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.
Malicious hackers and insider threats have been particularly challenging for government agencies.
The federal, state and local government agencies earned last place finishes – a disappointing showing considering the volume of personal and privileged information the government handles daily – compared to the private industry competitors.
The 18 private industries in the study included transportation, retail, healthcare, finance, technology, etc.
Among the top performers were information services, construction, food and technology.
On the lower end of the scale, yet still beating the government agencies, were education, telecommunication and pharmaceutical industries.
Although President Obama has prioritized the improvement of cyber security, federal agencies fared poorly on network security, software patching flaws, malware, email spoofing and insider security threats. SecurityScorecard cited the government may have greater vulnerability due to its respective size.
According to the report, the lowest-performing government entity was NASA, which was susceptible to email spoofing and malware. Also low on the list was the U.S. Department of State and the information technology systems of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington and Maricopa County, Arizona.
You may access the report here and learn the top and bottom performing U.S. government organizations across all levels; the ranking of local, state and federal agencies; the specific score breakdown of NASA, FBI and the IRS – three organizations that incurred data breaches in early 2016.
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