Oversight leaders to probe Social Security defenses

Oversight leaders to probe Social Security defenses
© Haiyun Jiang

The House Oversight Committee is evaluating cybersecurity practices at the Social Security Administration after a November audit found security weakness to be a “significant deficiency” at the agency.

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Specifically, the committee is requesting an unredacted copy of the results of recent penetration testing at the agency. Such testing intentionally attacks computer systems to hunt out vulnerabilities that can then be patched.

Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzGuess who’s stumping for states' rights? GOP Rep. Gowdy slams Trump team for 'amnesia' on Russia meetings California Dem sworn in as House member after delay MORE (R-Utah) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) requested the information no later than May 10 in a letter to Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin this week.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report — conducted by an independent auditor — will “help the committee evaluate the current state of security for SSA’s information systems,” according to the letter.

Although the OIG report did not uncover a breach, it hinted at the catastrophic impact such an incident could have.

“SSA houses sensitive information about nearly every U.S. citizen — living and deceased —  including medical and financial records,” the report reads. “Inappropriate and unauthorized access to, or theft of, this information can result in significant harm and distress to potentially hundreds of millions of Americans.”

“As such, it is imperative that SSA make protecting its networks and information a top priority,” the report concludes.