Application security, Network Security

Pompeo will put resources into cyber at State Dept., agency warns employees of uptick in hacking attempts


On the same day the State Department warned employees about an uptick in hackers' efforts to target them, CIA Director Mike Pompeo told lawmakers Thursday he would “put a great deal of resources” into cybersecurity if he nabbed the Secretary of State slot.

“I can only say that, every element of government has a piece of its cyber duty. It's one of the challenges that it's so deeply divided, that we don't have a central place to do cyber work,” Pompeo said before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pointing to efforts during his tenure at the CIA to put resources into cybersecurity efforts.

In an email to agency employees the Cyber and Technology Security Directorate noted malicious emails, social media messages and texts were sent to more than 2,000 among their ranks, according to a Politico report.

“Personnel are advised to be alert for suspicious activity related to ongoing cyber operations targeting the Department,” the email read, urging employees to report any malicious activity.

Critics are concerned that the State Department's cyber efforts suffered under recently ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who nixed the cybersecurity coordinator position as he reorganized the agency.

The reorganization under Tillerson led to the shutdown of the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues, the group that helped broker the U.S. cyber pact with China to eliminate corporate cyberattacks, and folded it into the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

The office's coordinator, who used to report to the Secretary of State, moved down the command chain

Pompeo was pressed by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., about whether he would resurrect the position.

“I have had the [organization] chart shown to me. I have seen the holes,” said Pompeo. “Beyond that, I haven't given a great deal of consideration to people filling particular positions.” 

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