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How the Government Shutdown Stalled Cybersecurity

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

The government shutdown may be over for now, but national cybersecurity is still in limbo.

Agencies furloughed security teams. Patches and updates to websites were deferred.

Meanwhile, federal workers went looking for jobs in the private sector. It wasn't the end of the world, but it's hard to reboot cybersecurity once it goes down.

Cyber Slowdown

Industry experts saw it first-hand. With the shutdown, cybersecurity slowed down.

Chris Eng, vice president of research at Veracode, said a lot of work was "not being done. "That included important tech work.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, for example, suspended work on encryption. TechCrunch said the shutdown was "putting America at risk."

While President Trump has agreed to reopen government temporarily, Ars Technica says the "real damage to the government may be waiting in the wings." Furloughed workers have already started looking for other jobs.

Brain Drain

Private sector firms pay much better than government jobs. That's painfully true when the government doesn't pay.

Justin Sherman, a cybersecurity policy fellow at NewAmerica, said government tech workers would leave. Even after the shutdown ends, he said, it will be hard for the government to recruit new talent.

The Department for Homeland Security, for example, has not been able to fill information security positions for over a year.

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