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Photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A Senate subcommittee analysis of a decade of annual inspectors general reports shows that at the 7 worst-performing federal agencies, known cybersecurity issues can linger for as long as a decade.

The big picture: The report, compiled by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, tracked cybersecurity problems in 7 agencies with the lowest ratings in a recent federal audit, as well as the Department of Homeland Security, which exercises some oversight control. Many of the problems were common across agencies.

Details: The 7 low-performing agencies were the Social Security Administration and the Departments of State, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Health and Human Services and Education.

  • At the Department of Education, for example, the inspector general identified in 2011 that unauthorized outside devices were able to connect to the network. That problem wasn't addressed until last year, and even then the network allowed connections for 90 seconds — enough to open a doorway for hackers.
  • Agriculture, Transportation, and HHS all had recurring or unaddressed problems that were a decade old. State had problems stretching back 5 years.
  • Every agency audited used at least some legacy systems so outdated that the vendors no longer provide security patches. Six agencies did not patch in a timely manner.

Between the lines: The report identifies several problems that allow cybersecurity issues to linger in many agencies.

  • There is a global cybersecurity talent shortage, and many of the less glamorous agencies struggle to get the best talent.
  • Agency cybersecurity executives often don't have access to their directors' ears or congressionally mandated authority to make decisions. There's also often high turnover at those jobs.
  • Agencies struggle to make needed changes as a result of tight budgets.

What's next: The report suggests that agencies centralize operations, prioritize staffing and embrace different budgeting models.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

New wave of strikes will test worker power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Thousands of John Deere workers hit the picket line this week after the union smacked down a new worker contract from the farm and equipment maker.

Why it matters: There’s a wave of worker angst spreading across the country. They wield new power that’s come with a historic worker shortage.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

The smart city comes of age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Better sensors, more intelligent AI, and the coming wave of 5G wireless could finally fulfill the promise of the smart city.

Why it matters: How we organize, run and power our cities will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as urbanization expands and the damaging effects of climate change compound.