Senators Call for State Department’s Cybersecurity Standards into Question in Letter to Secretary Pompeo

Sep 21, 2018

A bipartisan group of senators recently sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on the State Department to adopt stronger cybersecurity standards in line with federal regulations. 
In their letter, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ed Markey (D-MA), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) noted that, “According to a 2018 General Service Administration (GSA) assessment of federal cybersecurity, the Department of State had only deployed enhanced access controls across 11% of required agency devices…Similarly, the Department of State’s Inspector General (OG) found last year that 33% of diplomatic missions failed to conduct even the most basic cyber threat management practices…”
The letter requests responses to three questions regarding the State Department’s cybersecurity status by October 12:

  • What actions has the Department of State taken in response to the OMB’s designation of the Department of State’s cyber readiness as “high risk”?
  • What actions has the Department of State taken to rectify the near total absence of multifactor authentication systems for accounts with elevated privileges accessing the agency’s network, as required by federal law?
  • Please provide us with statistics, for each of the past three years, detailing the number of cyber attacks against Department of State systems located abroad.  Please include statistics about both successful and attempted attacks.

To view the letter in full, click here: https://www.wyden.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/state-dept-cybersecurity-letter-from-wyden-gardner-paul-markey-shaheen.pdf