May 11 2015

Veterans Affairs Takes on Increasing Number of Cyberthreats

The agency’s CIO says the VA blocked 1.19 billion malware instances and 358 million intrusion attempts in March.

When any federal agency sees its malware instances jump 28 percent, month over month, that’s cause for alarm. But when the raw numbers of those malware instances are in the million and billion ranges, it’s even more frightening.

During a call with reporters in April, Veterans Affairs CIO Stephen Warren shared the level of cyberwarfare that his agency was engaged in, reports Nextgov.

In March, the agency blocked 1.19 billion malware instances and 358 million intrusion attempts. These numbers show sharp increases from February, when the agency blocked 930 million malware instances and 4.3 million intrusion attempts.

So what’s a federal agency to do? Warren concedes that the onslaught is inevitable. “Nothing I do will reduce what’s coming at me one bit,” he said, according to Nextgov.

Instead, the VA is buckling down on “continuous monitoring technology, reinforcing external network connections, and security training.”

Warren would like to see an increased budget for cybersecurity, and he’s hopeful that more collaboration with other federal agencies could yield some key insights on taking on cybersecurity threats.

“We need to figure out, ‘how do we take this on together as a society,'” he said.


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