44,000 people have a single employee of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to blame for a ‘major’ breach of their data.
Lamar Smith, a republican House representative from Texas and a chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, told reporters recently that the breach was inadvertently triggered in late February. According to Smith, an investigation revealed that while transferring files from a private office computer over to a personal storage device, the employee accidentally copied data belonging to roughly 44,000 customers. The individual in question is reported to have left the FDIC on February 26. Three days later agency officials discovered the breach. The personal storage device was recovered on March 1.
A Troubling Pattern
Rep. Smith, who has referred to the breach as “troubling,” requested a meeting with the FDIC as soon as all pertinent information has been gathered. This incident is another in a line of cybersecurity breaches that could be considered black eyes for the government. Just last summer, the Office of the Personnel Management suffered a malicious hack that exposed personal data of more than 22 million people.
What’s the Fallout?
As the head of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Smith also oversees the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is responsible for setting the standards related to cybersecurity and FISMA compliance. His letter to the FDIC Chairman reflects the seriousness with which he views this most recent breach. Smith wrote that his committee will take measures verify the FDIC is doing everything in its power to mitigate future cyber security risks.
That the breach was supposedly a result of an inadvertent action does not make the incident any less concerning to officials. Smith vowed to ensure that the proper controls have been put in place at the FDIC to prevent any future breaches. With the consistent pattern of incidents that have occurred on the government’s watch in recent years, it is no surprise that the committee overseeing cybersecurity standards is ready to crack down.
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