WASHINGTON, D.C. –The House Veterans Affairs Committee Wednesday reviewed legislation sponsored by Congresswoman Jackie Walorski that aims to correct serious cybersecurity weaknesses within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This directive, which is the product of many months of careful investigation and research by the House Veterans Affairs Committee, directs the VA to secure its network; upgrade outdated operating systems; secure web applications; protect applications from anonymous user access; and comply with federal information security laws, standards, and guidance.
“The continued cybersecurity threats within the VA put the personal information of thousands of veterans at risk,” said Walorski. “The security of VA’s network has been an open question for years, and the VA has continually failed to fully comply with recommendations from the Government Accountability Office, the Office of the Inspector General, and even federal law.
“This is a betrayal of the thousands of veterans counting on the VA to keep their information safe. In a day and age when we increasingly rely on electronic data, failure to protect our veterans’ personal information is not acceptable. This legislation will provide the VA with a clear roadmap for immediately securing its system, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the VA committee to get this legislation passed quickly into law.”
Numerous reports of data breaches as well as the VA’s own documentation demonstrate critical cybersecurity weaknesses at the VA. These vulnerabilities have been verified by independent cybersecurity experts, who told the Committee that VA’s security weaknesses are severe and require immediate attention.
Congresswoman Walorski serves on the House Veterans Affairs, Armed Services and Budget Committees. Click here to view Walorski testifying at HVAC.