re: Government Shutdown: What Are IT Systems Risks?
I am a contractor for a Federal Agency employed as a cyber security incident responder. During this shutdown, I am going without pay, and unlike Civil Service employees, there has been no bill passed by the House to reimburse contractors for their lost wages. I cannot be at my post - even without pay - because federal law prohibits me from working.
This situation creates a very serious danger for our nation caused by a convergence of factors:
1)The information systems of the United States Government are under continual attack from sophisticated and well-funded foreign governments. At this moment, practically no one is working to repel those attacks. We are in fact engaged in a cyber war right now with several nations. And at this moment G«Ű no one is guarding the fort.
2)Under normal circumstances, the US Government has a serious shortage of trained personnel to maintain countermeasures to those cyber attacks. Most of the personnel that do exist are now furloughed contractors, who have no hope of reimbursement once they return to work.
3) Since the private sector has a similar shortage of trained cyber security personnel, it behooves those of us who are employed as Federal contractors to seek more reliable employment elsewhere. This will only increase the personnel shortage and exacerbate the risks to the information systems that are an essential part of Federal Government operations.
I have no doubt that several hostile foreign governments are currently celebrating their unfettered freedom to compromise the security and operational integrity of the Federal GovernmentG«÷s computers and networks. And I am challenged to express in words how demoralizing it is to be considered G«£non-essentialG«• and to be summarily tossed off our jobs and told to eek out an existence without pay.
Those of us who work as cyber security contractors for the Federal Government are generally paid less than our counterparts in the private sector. Patriotism and pride in our mission is a large part of our compensation. But pride and patriotism wonG«÷t pay our bills, feed our children, or compensate for the lost wages caused by unreliable employment.