Congress

Lawmaker grouses about cybersecurity delays at IRS

Shutterstock image: secure data stream.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, doesn't think the IRS is getting on the Einstein cybersecurity bandwagon quickly enough.

In a Sept. 8 letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Johnson said the agency is resisting efforts to install the Einstein network security service offered by the Department of Homeland Security. The Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act, which was later incorporated into the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, sets a deadline of Dec. 18 for all agencies to have Einstein in place. Einstein is a perimeter monitor that examines traffic for malware, phishing scams and other potentially insecure content.

"DHS recently briefed committee staff that the IRS is either unable or unwilling to implement the statutorily required mandates of CISA of integrating all levels of the Einstein network protection tools on the IRS systems and for all IRS data," Johnson wrote. "According to DHS, the IRS believes, based on other statutes, that IRS is exempt from these statutory requirements."

Johnson said he finds the development especially concerning because of all the confidential data kept in IRS systems and in light of attempts by scammers to breach that data using the agency's public-facing applications.

He wants answers from the IRS no later than Sept. 14.

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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