VA devotes day to security

The Department of Veterans Affairs will hold a special event Nov. 3 to highlight

the importance of computer security and the responsibility of the VA's 220,000

employees to avoid lapses.

"We need to bring to the Computer Age the same values and commitment

that VA employees have always shown when it comes to protecting the confidentiality

of information about our veterans," acting VA secretary Hershel Gober said.

Among the day's events:

* Gober is expected to announce that some senior managers will be rated

on their performance of computer security issues as part of their annual

evaluations.

* Experts on computer and Internet security will appear on a closed-circuit

broadcast to all VA facilities.

The special day comes in the wake of criticism of computer security

at the VA. A private company hired earlier this year was able to break into

VA's computer systems numerous times and could have used VA data to apply

for phony credentials or conduct other fraudulent activities.

"Computer security needs to become embedded within the culture of VA,"

said Edward Meagher, special assistant to Gober for information technology.

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