Internet Law

Lawmaker: Feds Didn't Spot Cyber-Attack

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Saying that the Department of Homeland Security didn’t notice for months that its computer system had been attacked by hackers, a Congressman who works closely with the department is now seeking a new government investigation—and blaming the contractor in charge of the system for lax oversight.

Meanwhile, the FBI reportedly is already investigating Unisys Corp., which has a $1.7 billion contract with the department to build parts of its computer system. According to congressional investigators, the company “allegedly failed to detect cyber break-ins traced to a Chinese-language Web site and then tried to cover up its deficiencies,” reports the Washington Post in a page one article.

“The department is the victim not only of cyber attacks initiated by foreign entities, but of incompetent and possibly illegal activity by the contractor charged with maintaining security on its networks,” writes Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., in a Sept. 21 letter to the department’s inspector general.

Thompson, who chairs the House Homeland Security committee, asks in the letter that the inspector general’s office launch its own investigation, according to ABC News.

Unisys says it has done nothing wrong, and implies that a lack of funding may have contributed to the problem, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.

In a written statement, the company says, in part: “We believe that a proper investigation of this matter will conclude that Unisys acted in good faith to meet the customer’s security requirements.”

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