Cyberattack cripples government agency network 12 weeks and counting

Josh Peterson Contributor
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Federal law makers are currently considering multiple cybersecurity bills, but are still incapable of adequately protecting their own networks.

The Washington Post reported Monday that 80 days ago, an email virus struck the Economic Development Administration (EDA) — a small bureau within the Department of Commerce. The virus threatened the entire department’s network, and in order to prevent it from inflicting further damage, the agency’s IT staff was forced to bring the network offline.

The EDA — staffed by 215 employees —- gives grants to “distressed” communities. The ability to email or do a Google search has been paralyzed, forcing employees to respond to grant applicants via fax. Agency employees are, however, admitting that the upside to being blown back to the Dark Ages is the return to human contact, the Post reported.

The number of government network intrusions reported to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team is up from 5,500 in 2007 to a staggering 44,000 in 2011, the Post continued. The attack against the EDA is currently the longest intrusion in federal history.

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