Top 5 Cybersecurity Threats Facing Federal Government Agencies in 2023

Cybersecurity news and threats change rapidly as the field develops and changes day by day. 
Federal Government Agencies are at the top of the list of organizations that must remain vigilant about potential attacks, whether the threats are new (complex deep fakes) or have been around for a significant amount of time (like ransomware).

Here are the top 5 cybersecurity threats to pay attention to right now:

1. Ransomware

Ransomware is a malicious cyberattack using malware to restrict the user’s access from their data and files until a ransom is paid. Ransomware has been a longstanding threat, and remains a present and future concern.

The MOVEIT ransomware attack just a number of months ago is the most recent example of how a virtual attack can affect our nation in a myriad of ways – from government agencies to institutions like schools and hospitals.

Backing up your organization’s important data on an external hard drive or cloud is the best defensive tactic for protection against ransomware – as well as keeping up with system updates and developing comprehensive security systems for your entire network.

2. Adversarial AI

Adversarial AI uses one of our greatest weapons against us – by feeding false information to AI models and corrupting our systems from the inside out.

Artificial Intelligence models work by learning from information fed to it – AI is only a comprehensive knowledge base if the knowledge it learns from is accurate. If a hacker is able to infiltrate a system and feed it false information, the AI model will eventually begin to spit back out false and dangerous information.

There are other threats that AI poses, which don’t always originate from malicious sources! 

AI degradation is a phenomenon where AI continually “gets dumber,” for lack of a better term. As the information models and contexts in which AI is used continually change, AI cannot always keep up, and therefore, its expertise slowly but surely regresses over time. 

AI Hallucinations are different from degradation – while a degradation occurs from a natural progression of time and a failure to keep up with new information, a hallucination occurs when generative AI simply provides false information.

All of these risks and/or potential complications with AI mean that while we may use AI to aid us in workflows or other tasks, we should remain vigilant and aware that weaknesses and dangers are present. 

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

“Internet of things” (IoT) means exactly what you would guess – the computerization of household objects that we commonly use is both convenient and a hidden threat. From smart watches and TVs to refrigerators and Alexa, our homes and offices are full of devices that are vulnerable to attack. Government offices in particular, should remain vigilant about those inconspicuous devices that could be hacked in the blink of an eye. Educating individuals about best practices for maintaining the security of their devices is key to keeping devices safe and secure.

4. Deepfake

A deepfake is another type of AI, in which media is fabricated or manipulated to appear real and spread misinformation.

Especially as election season approaches, our government and officials are increased subjects of these attacks. Fabricated videos and speeches from within our own country and foreign enemies weaken public trust and confidence in their leaders.

Increased security and education for your employees are the primary ways you can protect your organizations and those you serve from the threat of deep fakes.

5. Skills Gap

The entire world of cybersecurity moves and innovates incredibly quickly. Our cyber professionals need state-of-the-art training to keep them at the top of their game, and up-and-coming professionals in the field need the support and time to learn to be set up for success in their mission. This is important both for the security of our federal offices and the good of our employees. The more informed and prepared everyone is, the better.

Prioritizing continuing education for IT staff can help keep them on track and prepared to face advanced threats when they come.

You can combat the risk of a skills gap within your staff by equipping your staff in a few different ways: 

IT Training & Certifications-Regular Training Programs – Investing in training programs ensures your IT team is up to date on the latest in technology and threat vectors. You can also offer incentives or reimbursements for staff who pursue and attain industry-recognized certifications like CISSP, CISM, or CompTIA Security+. If you’re unsure of where to find these certifications for your employees, our comprehensive course catalog features IT training and certifications taught by industry experts. Our courses are designed to offer you the most practical and extensive training experience possible, accessible to you on-demand – anytime and anywhere. We offer both online and on-site training with custom courses focused on mission-specific outcomes.

Certifications and trainings include:

  • AWS
  • CompTIA
  • Cisco
  • CyberAB CMMC
  • Dark Web Council
  • DevOps Institute
  • ITIL
  • Microsoft
  • Project Management
  • Six Sigma

Stay Informed with Threat Intelligence – Subscribe to threat intelligence services and ensure that the IT team is always updated with real-time data on the latest threats.

The threats we face in this industry can feel overwhelming at times, but the opportunities for innovation and education are abundant! We hope you’ll take advantage of the resources and connections you can find with team RedSky to provide safety for your company and those you serve now and in the future.