Senate OKs measure creating state Office of Cybersecurity

Washington
Image Credit: Michel Spingler
FILE - In this Jan.22, 2019 file photo, cables are plugged into a device by Cyber Test Systems at the Cybersecurity Conference in Lille, northern France.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — In response to a security breach that exposed personal information from around 1.6 million unemployment claims filed last year, the Washington Senate has unanimously passed a measure that creates a state Office of Cybersecurity.

The measure, passed by the chamber on Wednesday, creates the new office within the Office of the Chief Information Officer. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

If passed by the full Legislature and signed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, the office would set security policies and develop centralized protocols for managing the state’s information technology assets.

RELATED: Data breach compromised info of 1.6M who sought unemployment

Earlier this month, the state auditor’s office said the breach involved third-party software used by the auditor’s office to transmit files. The software vendor, Accellion, announced last month that it had been attacked in December.

The measure would direct all Washington state entities — institutions of higher education, the Legislature, the judiciary, and state agencies — to adopt programs that incorporate cybersecurity standards set by the office and to report any major cybersecurity incident within 24 hours.

The new office would be the point of contact for all policy related to data privacy and protection, and would be charged with investigating all major cybersecurity incidents.

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WARNING: If you get a 1099-g form, and you’ve never applied for unemployment, you may be a victim of fraud