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Congressman Brown Introduces Bill to Aid Federal Employees Impacted By Cyber Attacks

July 26, 2017
Press Release
Bill Co-Sponsored by Reps. Wittman and Ruppersberger Would Designate Official to Coordinate Government Response to Cyber Attacks on Federal Employees

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) along with Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02) introduced the Cyber VICTIM (Valuing Individual Cybersecurity Through Interagency Measures) Act (H.R. 3403). The bill directs the President of the United States to designate a federal official as the Interagency Cyber Victim Response Coordinator. The Coordinator will ensure that the government following a cyberattack or data breach properly assists federal employees, who are often specifically targeted and more susceptible to an attack simply because of their occupation. The official will also be responsible for providing a report detailing the effects of a potential breach within 180 days, along with an annual report to Congress summarizing the office’s response to attacks that have occurred throughout the federal government.

“The United States has fallen victim to several cyberattacks in recent years. From the 2014 hack that exposed the information of 800,000 Postal Service workers, to its biggest data breach in 2015 when 21.5 million records including 5.6 million fingerprints were stolen from OPM. While we have taken steps to improve our defenses against future breaches, the federal government must support those who have fallen victim to these attacks,” said Congressman Brown (D-MD). “Federal employees devote their lives to civil service, and we must make it a priority to both protect against information theft and guarantee robust response if an attack occurs. These breaches are becoming much too commonplace. Information theft should not be an occupational hazard of federal employment.”

"Unfortunately, federal employees are going to continue to be targeted by cyber-attacks because of the nature of their work and the information they access," Congressman Wittman (R-VA) said. "And while we should strive to prevent these attacks, we also have an obligation to ensure that our federal workers have the support and assistance they need in the event of an attack that compromises their personal information. In the wake of the Postal Service and OPM hacks, designating one official as Interagency Cyber Victim Response Coordinator is a commonsense step we can take to ensure our federal employees that there will be an organized, effective response to any cyber-attack."  

“I thank Rep. Anthony Brown for introducing this important legislation, which will establish a cyber victim coordinator and ensure the federal government can better assist federal employees whose data has been compromised," said Democratic Whip Hoyer (D-MD). "Following the data breach at OPM in 2015, we must do everything we can to safeguard federal employees’ personal information and assist victims. This bill will help achieve that objective, and I hope House Republican leaders will bring it to the Floor for swift consideration.”

“Our federal employees are often targeted for identity theft simply because they are public servants,” Congressman Ruppersberger (D-MD) said. “We need to do much more to harden our cyber defenses and prevent data breaches like those that have affected agencies like OPM and the Postal Service but, in the meantime, we owe these hard-working men and women every resources available should they become victims. In keeping with my record in support of free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance for federal employees affected by a data breach, I am proud to support this latest effort.”

“Two years ago, nearly 22 million current and former federal employees, job applicants, and their family members had their most personal and sensitive information stolen in one of the largest cyberattacks in U.S. history. Congressman Brown’s legislation would provide for a coordinated federal response to these attacks and any future data breaches targeting federal workers. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that agencies can respond to these incidents and provide employees with assistance in as timely a manner as possible. This bill will help make that happen, and AFGE thanks Congressman Brown for introducing this important legislation,” said AFGE President J. David Cox.