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OPM's efforts to fix IT security are criticized by auditor

Grant Gross | June 26, 2015
Efforts to fix cybersecurity problems at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may be doomed because the agency is moving too quickly and ignoring some best practices, an auditor said Thursday.

The hearing turned largely into a partisan debate, with Republicans slamming OPM and the Obama administration and Democrats defending the agency. The hearing uncovered little new information about the breaches.

OPM leaders have shown "such a lack of attention and priority to this issue, and let's face it, a record of failure now," Johnson said.

But the agency has made great strides forward since Archuleta took over as director, said Tony Scott, the U.S. CIO. in the Office of Management and Budget. "I worry in this particular case, that as we deploy more [cybersecurity] tools across the federal government, and as we are likely to discover more of these kinds of issues, that there's a chilling effect on anybody wanting to come in and take one of these roles," said Scott, a Microsoft veteran.

Andy Ozment, an assistant secretary for cybersecurity at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, appeared to suggest Congress was partly responsible for cybersecurity problems in the federal government.

"We're now making up for 20 years of underinvestment in cybersecurity across the public and the private sectors," he said. "At the same time, we are facing a major challenge in protecting our most sensitive information against sophisticated, well-resourced and persistent adversaries."

 

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