The US government has tons of resources under its control. It is also the head of one of the most technologically-advanced countries in the world. You’d think the US government would have its act together when it comes to protecting itself against hackers. Well, think again. According to the US president’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the US government can do more-much more-in shoring up its security defenses against cyberattacks. In a pointed letter send to President Obama, PCAST says the US government needs to show the rest of the country the way to preventing and combatting cyber threats. It has to lead by example. Sadly, according to PCAST’s findings, the US government doesnt’ follow accepted best practices consistently. It pointed out vulnerabilities like government computers still running on Windows XP. Instead, PCAST says the US government should get on the Linux and Mac OS platforms as well as directing all government employees to regularly update their browsers. Moreover, the body recommends all government workers to use only auto-updated software.
What’s shocking about the report is that most of its recommendations seem like common sense in the private sector. In fact, many recommendations seem downright basic. While the recommendations might draw chuckles since it points to holes in practices found in government agencies, the recommendations impact the private sector as well. PCAST recommends that the US government force any private contractor it does business with to adopt these tech security best practices as well.