Since the shutdown ended, the Department of Homeland Security has prioritized the resumption of its election security programs, some of which were forced to go on hiatus during the lapse in government funding, according to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Chris Krebs. “Coming out of the shutdown, anything that had paused on election security-related activities was put on the top of the priority list for restart,” he said. Krebs told CNN that if there was an active threat during the shutdown, the department was able to respond by conducting assessments and hunting down the threat. “What paused was the more routine vulnerability assessments,” he said. Those included a “couple of the election security-related” assessments run by the department, specifically focused on state networks.
During the shutdown, the agency said in a statement that it had “ceased a variety of critical cybersecurity and infrastructure protection capabilities,” but no specific details were provided.
Despite fear among cyber experts that the shutdown was a ripe time to target the government’s networks, Krebs said he wasn’t aware of an uptick of attacks directed at the federal system.