U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Angus King (I-ME), both members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, urged the Senate Appropriations Committee to increase funding for cybersecurity upgrades at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The request comes in the wake of a massive cyberattack on the agency that may have compromised the personal data of about 4 million current and former federal employees.
“As the keeper of sensitive data -¬ including personally identifiable information for 32 million federal employees and retirees – OPM has a huge responsibility to maintain and consistently upgrade their cybersecurity controls,” wrote the Senators in a letter to the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. “The funding requested includes $21 million to continue and finish upgrades initiated after a FY 2014 attack and represents the recommendations of a comprehensive security analysis meant to protect OPM’s network well into the future. While OPM may need to revise their request further in light of the most recent attack, it is abundantly clear that technology and cyberattackers evolve in real time and the federal government needs more resources and budget certainty to keep their infrastructure current and strong.”
For FY 2016, the President’s budget requested an additional $32 million over FY 2015 levels for OPM IT and cybersecurity. In addition to the $21 million to continue IT infrastructure and security upgrades, the funding would also support a 24/7 security operations center to provide consistent monitoring and quicker response to cyberattacks, and allow OPM to strengthen firewalls and data storage capacity.
The full text of the letter is available here.