Senator pushes NSA, DHS to help government officials secure devices and accounts


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Sen. Ron Wyden urged the heads of the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to help government officials protect personal devices and online accounts from attacks by hackers and foreign governments.

Wyden, D-Ore., asks for a voluntary and regular device screening program, a cybersecurity checkup for personal accounts and collaboration with major telecom and internet companies to flag accounts of senior government officials for extra security.

In a letter sent on Friday, Wyden cited a report that White House chief of staff John Kelly’s personal smartphone was infected with malware.

“General Kelly joins a long list of senior government officials whose accounts or devices have been compromised in recent years, including CIA Director John Brennan, Colin Powell, John Podesta and Sarah Palin,” Wyden wrote.

Chris Soghoian, the former ACLU technologist, is once again leading the charge behind Wyden’s tech efforts and is listed as the point of contact for moving forward on the initiative. The letter is part of a year-long cybersecurity push from Wyden’s office.

“Sen. Wyden is pushing government agencies to pick up years-old, common sense stuff,” Keith Chu, a spokesman for Wyden, told CyberScoop over the summer. “Especially when you keep seeing politicians looking for encryption backdoors and other extreme measures of security, Wyden wants to show that you don’t have to have a trade off on security measures if you take the easy steps that government is often taking, like encryption and two-factor authentication.”

You can read Wyden’s full letter below:

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Ron Wyden