House committee keeps pressing DHS on cybersecurity

Lawmakers continue to investigate the vulnerability of the Homeland Security Department’s information technology networks.

The investigation, which started April 30 with a letter to department Chief Information Officer Scott Charbo, will continue June 20 when the House Homeland Security Committee’s Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology Subcommittee will hold a hearing examining the issues DHS faces and what it is doing to improve its security.

In a letter to Charbo May 31, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) asked an additional 12 questions about the status of DHS’ networks, how the agency is mitigating risks, when it last audited contractors and internal systems, and more specifics on the data security breaches Charbo reported in answers to the first set of questions.

Charbo will testify next week along with Greg Wilshusen, director of information security issues at the Government Accountability Office, and Keith Rhodes, GAO’s chief technologist.

The subcommittee will also look at DHS’ network consolidation project, called OneNet, and its plans to continue investigating incidents on contractor-run networks, the briefing paper states.

Charbo has until today to answer Thompson’s latest questions. Among the items Thompson is requesting:
  • A full network topology diagram.
  • DHS’ plans to remedy vulnerabilities before converging networks under OneNet.
  • A list of funding reductions for DHS directorates that are not mitigating risks and completing their security improvement milestones.
  • DHS’ latest assessment of its wireless systems.
  • DHS’ latest assessment of its contractor-run networks.

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