- The Washington Times - Friday, April 15, 2016

U.S. federal, state and local government agencies have the worst cybersecurity protocols compared to 17 major private industries, including transportation, retail and health care, according to a new report released Thursday.

The report, from venture-backed security risk monitoring startup SecurityScorecard, measured the security of government and private industries across 10 categories, including vulnerability to malware infections, exposure rates of passwords, and susceptibility to social engineering, Reuters reported.

Federal agencies had the lowest score on network security, software patching flaws and malware, according to the report.

NASA came in last place. The report found that the space exploration agency was vulnerable to email scams and malware intrusions.

The U.S. State Department was among the low-performing government agencies, Reuters reported.

Education, telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries also ranked low on cybersecurity, as did the information technology systems used by Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington and Maricopa County, Arizona, the report found.

Government agencies have continually struggled to keep pace with growing cybersecurity threats. The issue made headlines when the Office of Personnel Management was hacked, exposing the personal information of over 21 million federal workers.

Government agencies with the strongest security scores included Clark County, Nevada, the U.s. Bureau of Reclamation, and the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota, according to the report.

Poor cybersecurity protocols in federal agencies has repeatedly been included on the Government Accountability Office’s “high-risk” list, an annual ranking of the worst accountability challenged to government faces.

The Obama administration asked Congress to dedicate $19 billion to cybersecurity in its fiscal 2017 budget proposal, which would include $3.1 billion for technology modernization at various federal agencies, Reuters reported.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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