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Report: More than half U.S. agencies met deadline to upgrade cybersecurity

A man watches a video presentation about hacking and cybersecurity during the CyberTech 2018 conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, on January 30. File Photo by Jim Hollander/EPA-EFE

By Nicholas Sakelaris, UPI

A cybersecurity firm said Tuesday more than 60 percent of the federal government's Internet domains now have authentication to prevent hacking via email -- meeting a deadline officials set a year ago.

Proofpoint, a California-based cybersecurity firm, said the compliant agencies have "reject" policies in place that will bounce suspicious emails before they can be opened.

Tuesday was the deadline for agencies to comply with the order, which was issued in October 2017. Under the directive, all federal agencies were required to install the added security, which blocks phony or spoofed emails, a process called domain-based message authentication (DMARC).

Only 20 percent of government domains were in compliance when the order was 12 months ago. More than 12 percent of emails sent from .gov domains was unauthorized, or 1 in 8.

"This is a significant achievement as many agencies did not have this initiative in their plans/budgets when the mandate was announced and DMARC implementation can be complex," Proofpoint president Robert Holmes said in a statement Tuesday. "Ideally, we will continue to see this positive trend until each agency fully protects their domains from email spoofing attacks."

Also, the report said 74 percent of federal domains have published DMARC records.

Lawmakers and federal officials in the United States and other nations have taken several steps to increase cybersecurity over the past year.

A British government study Tuesday showed foreign states are to blame for the majority of the cyberattacks on the country.

National Cyber Security Centre CEO Ciaran Martin said there's "little doubt" Britain will be a victim of a "category one attack" on critical national infrastructure at some point in the future. Martin said Russia is the most likely culprit for such an attack.

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US News: Report: More than half U.S. agencies met deadline to upgrade cybersecurity
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