Federal Cybersecurity Incidents Were Up 5% in 2017, GAO Reports

(Bloomberg) -- Cyberattacks and security lapses in federal computer systems rose 4.9 percent last year, as a third of 3,000 cybersecurity recommendations made by the U.S. Government Accountability Office remain unheeded, the watchdog agency reported.

The GAO reported 35,277 security incidents on federal government computers during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 including email “phishing” attacks, improper use and loss of equipment, according to the study issued Wednesday. The agency had reported 33,632 incidents for the previous year.

“The pace of change needs to pick up real quickly because the threat is evolving much faster than the government’s ability to address it,” Gene L. Dodaro, the GAO’s comptroller general, said at a House hearing after the report’s release.

Dodaro said the rise was partly due to an increase in attacks and partly due to better reporting of lapses.

The 3,000 computer security recommendations for federal agencies is a total of those issued by the GAO since 2010, said Chuck Young, a spokesman for the office.

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