Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Economy | By

Government shutdown threatens USA cyber security

Government shutdown threatens USA cyber security

Webpages at agencies such as NASA, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Court of Appeals have expired TLS certificates, according to British-based Netcraft in a January 10 blog post. In all, some 80 or more TLS certificates have expired, and this has left many sites inaccessible to the public, according to Netcraft.

Government websites with expired certificates that fail to implement HSTS show an HTTPs error in user's web browsers, but this error can be bypassed to access the site via HTTP. "In all there are some eighty ".gov" websites that are affected by the shutdown.

Other sites can not be accessed at all.

The affected sites include government payment portals and remote access services at agencies that are shuttered because of the shutdown. In the meantime, there's a chance that even more government sites could become effectively out of service if certificates weren't renewed in advance.

According to Netcraft, a United Kingdom -based internet security services company, many government domains can't be accessed until someone fixes the certificates.


Elsewhere, the function of U.S. government security related agencies such as NIST.gov has also been affected by the funding freeze.

"With each passing day, the impact of the government shutdown on our nation's security grows".

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security's new cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency is now operating with less than half of its staff, according to Suzanne Spaulding, a former official, in a column for The Hill. "Operating at less than half strength means we are losing ground against our adversaries". Almost half (45%) of workers are reportedly away from work on involuntary leave.

"Getting this agency fully operational requires a lot of work and it's like repairing an airplane while you're flying it", Spaulding explained. "This shutdown is a disruption CISA can ill afford".

Until the government opens up again, don't expect these websites until then.

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