Security lapse boosts training in the House

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 @ 05:04 PM gHale

United States Congressional leaders want the chamber’s security officials to implement a new cybersecurity training regimen for aides and take additional measures to protect sensitive information from potential hackers.

After a six-week review prompted by the disclosure of the ethics committee’s secretive deliberations, Daniel P. Beard, the House’s chief administrative officer, recommended technology security updates focusing on making staff aware of the security risks inherent on the Internet.[private]

“Changes in security policies will make it clear that all sensitive House information will remain on House equipment at all times, it will be encrypted when stored on mobile devices and must not be transmitted on any public access system,” Beard wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader John A. Boehner.

The review came about after Beard learned a junior staffer took home a sensitive computer file that included a document naming every member of Congress the panel was investigating and updating most of the nearly three dozen investigations. In many cases, these ethics troubles were not yet public knowledge.

The staffer put the file on a home computer on which she had downloaded peer-to-peer file-sharing software, commonly used by people who want to share music and other digital files. The Washington Post obtained the file from a source that had no connection to Congress or any matter before the ethics committee.[/private]

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