As the coronavirus crisis continues, many public sector agencies have to adopt greater teleworking initiatives than ever before to continue to meet their missions and deliver citizen services.
But has this necessary rapid migration and adoption introduced some security vulnerabilities that will compromise the vital work of government? How can agencies securely telework both during this pandemic and over the long term?
Allan Russell, Senior Manager Public Sector Security at Verizon; Brian Golden, Cybersecurity Solutions Executive and Verizon, tackle these questions in this Government Technology Insider podcast interview.
“The increased threat surface from teleworking is of particular concern these days,” said Golden. “Government IT employees were only given a few days notice of their workforces transitioning into remote working. As a result, the level of cybersecurity that they are operating in is substantially weaker than being in the office.”
Security vulnerabilities are already starting to come to the forefront. Verizon’s security operations center has already seen a rise in suspicious traffic coming from government remote workers whose personal devices had been compromised.
“With the threat surface dramatically increasing due to remote working, forward-thinking government CTOs and CISOs are preparing their security defense right now,” said Russell. “They are looking at where their vulnerabilities are and are responding accordingly.”
In addition to needing to ensure that teleworking employees are trained on proper cyber hygiene practices, government agencies are focused on stopping any potential distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks.
“While we are just getting up-and-running with teleworkers, some bad actors saw an opportunity to up their attacks in the form of DDOS attacks, which can shut down a network for a period of time,” said Russell. “Since remote access has not been protected like a critical business asset, we are now seeing DoD, federal, and state and local agencies preparing for these types of attacks.”
As final thoughts, both Russell and Golden discussed how government is just starting to see how COVID-19 is changing the cybersecurity landscape. In addition, Verizon is working with many new vendors to develop cutting-edge cyber solutions to help government adapt to this new reality over the long-term.
Listen to part four of the Federal Remote Worker Series below. Listen to the previous podcasts here.