The reality of cyber warfare literally “came home to roost” for many Americans in the form of a Russian invasion of the inexpensive internet routers that enable most home and small office networks. On May 25, the FBI sent a short public service announcement recommending that owners of small office and home office routers reboot to disrupt malware “able to perform multiple functions, including . . . information collection, device exploitation, and blocking network traffic.”1
In an associated release, The Department of Justice linked the infestation with Russian hackers known as the “Sofacy Group.” News reports suggested that the objective could be massive planned disruptions of service and noted that Russian cyber attacks had occurred in the Ukraine earlier in the month.
The idea of Russians in your home router is scary, but so are the facts about global cyber warfare and directed attacks against the agencies of the U.S. government. A 2018 report from Thale Security provides alarming statistics:
Rates of data breaches in the last year reported by our federal respondents are 57% (versus 36% in our total sample), more than three times higher than the federal rate of 18% measured only two years ago. Federal agencies experience a very challenging threat environment in which they must protect sensitive data. They are targeted by criminals seeking citizens’ private data, nation state hackers with their own agendas as well as suffering from perennial problems with funding, staffing and antiquated systems long since discarded by commercial enterprises.2
According to the Thale report, 71% of federal agencies have experienced a data breach in the recent past. Another report, released by the Heritage Foundation in January 2018, lists several significant cyber attacks that have occurred in the last couple of years, including:
- An March 2017 attack on the IRS data retrieval tool for FAFSA student aid applications that compromised taxpayer information for 100,000 individuals. Hackers also filed fraudulent applications and pilfered $30 million from the U.S. government.
- A hack of U.S. Forces Korea and Republic of Korea Armed forces data in September 2017 that may have included information on key military facilities and power plants.
- 2015 and 2016 data breaches at the FDIC that potentially compromised personal information of 113,000 individuals.3
The federal response includes increases in IT security spending in 93% of federal agencies and a hiring campaign that bridges the federal agencies to source the best cybersecurity talent. If coding is your line (pun intended), the cyber security job search could be an opportunity for you.
A Cybersecurity Jobs and Career Path for Federal Service
In 2009, the Obama administration initiated a comprehensive strategy to confront cybersecurity threats to the public and private sectors. That initiative lead to the formulation of a Cybersecurity National Action Plan, submitted as part of the 2017 budget for federal government cyber security jobs. A large component of the plan focused on workforce strategy for the federal government, with four specific goals:
- Expand the Cybersecurity Workforce through education and training
- Recruit top talent for Federal Service
- Retain and develop highly skilled talent by creating cybersecurity career paths in conjunction with OPM and federal agencies
- Identify the needs of the Cybersecurity workforce4
Central to the plan was the creation of a website that would provide information about federal cybersecurity jobs.
Finding Cybersecurity Jobs: Cybercareers.gov and USAJobs
In early 2017, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) launched cybercareers.gov to consolidate cybersecurity career resources for job seekers, hiring managers, federal HR professionals, and students who are considering a public sector career path. If you have a background in IT, programming, or cyber security, the new website is a good place to start your job search.
You’ll find listings of featured IT and information security jobs across agencies and departments with links to USAJobs.gov for complete position descriptions and online applications. If you’re also considering a public sector career or a transition to the federal government during your cyber security job search, you’ll also find a concise and informative page describing the benefits and opportunities available to federal employees.
There are many more listings for cybersecurity jobs and other IT openings on USAJobs.gov, the central employment site for all of the agencies and departments in the federal government. Try the following search keywords to uncover cybersecurity jobs:
Information Technology Specialist
Information Systems Security
Computer Network Defense
Information Technology Specialist
Series 2200 + Security
As of the date of this article, a search using the term “infosec” yielded 1,185 available positions, with openings at almost every government agency and across most of the states in the U.S.
Ready to fight the Cyber Wars? You’ll need to Code Your Resume First
While the idea of Russians in the routers is alarming, the challenge to U.S. citizens, businesses, and the federal government is much larger. Threats and actual cyber attacks from state-sponsored hackers are escalating. Putting your coding talent to work for the U.S. is a high calling and your skills and talents are needed. But it may be that you’re more comfortable with code than with the complexity of preparing a federal resume.
That’s where CareerPro Global can be of service. We can assist you with your federal resume and your government cybersecurity job application, including career advice and coaching to prepare for interviews. If you’re ready to apply for a cybersecurity position with the federal government, a conversation with CareerPro is an excellent starting point. We hope you’ll contact us to schedule a free career consultation!
1 Public Service Announcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alert # I-052518-PSA, May 25, 2018.
2 2018 Thales Data Threat Report Federal Government Edition, thalesecurity.com
3 Walters, Riley, Federal Cyber Breaches in 2017, The Heritage Foundation, 1/3/18
4 Donovan, Cobert, Daniel, Scott, Strengthening the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce, 1/12/16.
Learn More About Federal Government Jobs & Resumes