Last year, the nation’s computer systems reported more than 100,000 cyber threats, or one every five minutes. The job of analyzing and preventing them was assigned to a government agency that has faced repeated criticism for lacking enough resources and authority, as well as a consistent leader, to help it accomplish an increasingly daunting task.
That agency, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, faced more turnover at the top last Friday when Randy Vickers abruptly resigned. His replacement, Lee Rock, is the agency’s fifth director in the past six years.
The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the agency, said Vickers resigned for personal reasons. But former directors and outside experts say the job of leading the agency has become overwhelming as the threats of cyber attacks continue to mount.
“Imagine being a firefighter in West Texas where there’s no fire code and the entire state is filled with arsonists,” said Tom Kellermann, chief technology officer of the security firm AirPatrol Corp. “Would you keep the job for long?”