“Reports indicate that government cybersecurity teams, such as the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), were operating with less than half staff during the shutdown”, the letter said. “Experts have warned that our reduced capacity for cybersecurity during shutdowns provides an opportunity for adversaries and cybercriminals”.
The letter explained that during the shutdown, the digital security certificates for many government websites, including those operated by the US Department of Justice and NASA, expired.
The letter, which was also signed by Senators Ed Markey, Tom Udall, Catherine Cortez Masto, Cory Booker and Jack Reed, called on the Trump administration to detail any cybersecurity breaches that may have occurred during the shutdown.
The recent 35-day record-long government shutdown left some 800,00 federal workers furloughed or working without pay.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump signed a temporary three-week budget to end the shutdown without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from the Congress for a wall along the southern border.Trump is reportedly expected to continue talks with the Democrats on the full-fledged budget within next three weeks.
Trump has said that he could either declare a national emergency or shut down the government again if a border wall deal is not reached with Congress by 15 February.