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Lawmakers Probe Potential Breach of Government’s Encrypted Communications

A bipartisan cadre of lawmakers from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has sent letters to two dozen agencies to gather information about a potentially critical breach of Juniper Networks’ firewalls that might have compromised the integrity of agencies’ encrypted communications.

In December 2015 Juniper announced the discovery of unauthorized code in its systems that could allow a “knowledgeable attacker” to obtain administrative access to firewalls and decrypt virtual private network connections,FCW reported.

Juniper’s firewalls are widely used in both government and the private sector.

CNN quoted a U.S. official as saying the breach could be like "stealing a master key to get into any government building."

The FBI is investigating, and government officials said they believe the breach to have been perpetrated by a foreign government, due to its sophistication.

The letters to agencies were signed by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Information Technology Subcommittee Chairman Will Hurd (R-TX), Information Technology Subcommittee Vice Chairman Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Information Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Robin Kelly (D-IL), and committee members Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ).

The House Oversight Committee has requested agencies provide the committee information about their networks and cybersecurity by February 4.

If agencies “fail to respond they will be called before Congress to explain why they couldn’t produce this basic information—even though the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act [FISMA] requires government bodies to monitor and protect the data they possess,” Information Technology Subcommittee Chairman Hurd wrote in a Wall Street Journal editorial

Posted in General News

Tags: Pentagon, ash carter, budget

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