The Department of Education is 'the biggest vulnerability' for a hack

Although hospitals and health systems across the country are facing cyberattacks, one Utah lawmaker believes an attack on the U.S. Department of Education poses the greatest threat, according to Nextgov.

 

"The biggest vulnerability that I see out there right now: the Department of Education," Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said while speaking at the American Enterprise Institute Sept. 7. He claimed the department doesn't "even have the most basic of tools" to prevent breaches.

"If junior decides he wants to go to college ... and he wants to get that Pell grant, he wants to get those other loans, guess what? He's putting mom's information in there, he's putting dad's information, he's putting his brother's information, he's putting dad's uncle's information — credit union information, banking information, all of that is in one file and it's housed at the Department of Education — and they do not have dual authentication and they do not have encryption," Rep. Chaffetz said.

The Department of Education, which manages more than $1 trillion in loans, faced scrutiny by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in February. The committee wondered whether the department would be able to guard one of its 180 databases containing more than 130 million Social Security numbers. After the committee questioned the department's CIO, Danny Harris, he stepped down from his position.

"[T]here's more information at the Department of Education than there is at the Office of Personnel Management," Rep. Chaffetz said. "And that is my biggest fear. I still sweat about what's happened at the Department of Education."

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