Several employees of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have been locked out of the agency's computer networks according to latest news reports. This development, which was initially blamed on expired certificates seem to have affected DHS facilities in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

DHS Network Outage

Reuters was able to secure a confirmation from a DHS official and the source has cited network outage as the culprit, invoking the expired DHS certificate position.

As of this writing the affected agency reported was the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the DHS branch tasked with overseeing immigration services, border security, and cyber defense.

Some might find that curious given the latest immigration issues hounding the Trump administration. It is also worth noting that the agency is supposedly responsible for cyber defense and to have a number of its staff finding themselves locked out of their own computer network sounds quite off.

Just A Glitch Caused By President's Day

Unidentified sources maintain that problem is just a glitch and caused by a few missteps. There was a reference to the inability of the staff responsible for renewing the domain controller credentials due to the celebration of the President's Day, which is a federal holiday.

There was purportedly no evidence that point to the role of a third-party or some semblance of foul play.

"We are working to track all device certificate issuance and expirations to ensure future lapses of service do not occur," the DHS source was quoted in the Reuters report.

The so-called glitch has kept employees out of their computer network around 6:30 a.m. ET last Feb 21. The problem was said to have been resolved three hours later. There is still no word if other DHS branches were also affected or whether some functions within the agency have been hampered.

Federal Government Vulnerability

This latest development came on the heels of the government's new and aggressive enforcement of immigration policies. Donald Trump has also declared that cyber security will be a top priority for his administration as the ghost of Russian meddling in last year's presidential elections continues to haunt his early days in office.

Observers could also find themselves drawn to a recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office, which revealed that the government's computer system remain vulnerable to cyber attacks.

"Over the past several years, GAO has made about 2,500 recommendations to federal agencies to enhance their information security programs and controls," the report stated. "As of February 2017, about 1,000 recommendations had not been implemented."

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