House staffers to get training on social media, email security

House staffers to get training on social media, email security
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House staffers on Wednesday will receive training on how to protect social media and email accounts, the first of a series of meetings on the topic. 

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a public-private partnership, will begin an initiative to train elected officials and staff on how to prevent leaks that come from cyber breaches. Wednesday's event on the Hill, which features representatives from Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, will be the first of a series that will also include visits from Twitter and AT&T.

The "Lock Down Your Login" campaign is funded by a grant from Google, who has worked with the NCSA in the past on the same issues for a general audience.

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"Google said, 'This time, let's focus on high-profile people, those that have a lot of people coming after their accounts,' " said Kristin Judge, NCSA director of special projects and government relations. 

The NCSA decided that elected officials would be a high-profile group to focus on. The group plans to spend time with officials from the city council level and up through the federal government. 

In focus groups designed to tune the message of the program, Judge says she found overwhelming interest in the topic and practical need. 

"The first focus group was supposed to be 30 minutes," she said, "but it ended up being hours."

"While we conducted the focus groups, we actually found someone whose account was being accessed by someone else in Oregon."

Wednesday's event will include appearances from Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), House Director of Information Security Randy Vickers, House Cybersecurity Outreach and Training Manager Jamie Crotts and Judge. 

Lock Down Your Login aims to promote standard but underutilized defenses, like two-factor authentication and better awareness of the threat.

After high-profile breaches inside and outside the Beltway demonstrated the dangers of losing control of accounts, Judge believes politicians are primed to focus on the problem.

"We find after any breach, it's the best time to teach," she said.