Congress

Thune seeks answers on White House cyber breach

Wikimedia image: Senator John Thune.

Sen. John Thune wants the White House to update the Commerce Committee on the scope of a recent White House cyber breach.

The Obama administration has been mum about what Russian hackers might have stolen during an intrusion on the unclassified White House network. South Dakota Republican John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, wants to know if personally identifiable information on Americans has been compromised, and if any sensitive policy information was taken.

Thune is particularly concerned about information -- including Social Security numbers -- that citizens planning to visit the White House might have submitted over email for necessary background checks. "I am ... concerned that this recent incident may have exposed the personally identifiable information of many individuals, and they may, as yet, be unaware of their vulnerability," Thune wrote in a May 3 letter to the White House.

Thune notes that President Barack Obama is seeking legislation to cover private sector data breaches, including national standards for notifying individuals whose information has been viewed or stolen by hackers. In light of that, Thune wants the White House to update the Commerce Committee on "the scope of this reported breach, and the steps the White House is taking to address the potential exposure of the personally identifiable information of visitors to the White House," per the letter.

Specifically, Thune wants to know if the recent cyber intrusion resulted in any personally identifiable information being compromised, if the White House has notified those at risk, what the White House is doing to secure their networks against intrusion, and what policies the White House has in place to notify individuals whose data is stolen or compromised.

Thune asked the White House to respond by May 15.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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