Last Friday’s announcement of a two-month-old security breach in the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is prompting an immediate call to action by three state House members who co-authored cybersecurity legislation more than a year ago.
“The system error exposed the full name, date of birth, citizenship, and all reported employment information of more than 2,000 individuals,” said state Rep. Seth Grove (R-York), one of the prime sponsors of House Bill 1704
. “This critical breakdown is just another symptom of our aging, outdated infrastructure, and one more reason why House Bill 1704 must be fast-tracked through the legislative process.”
House Bill 1704, which still sits with the House State Government Committee after being introduced in July of last year, would further empower the Office of Information Technology (OIT), which was created two years ago by Gov. Tom Wolf under executive order.
“Our bill would mandate that Pennsylvania’s cybersecurity standards at least match industry standards, require more frequent testing of our security systems, and establish a committee that would meet quarterly to evaluate emerging cyber threats,” said bill co-sponsor Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York). “We are currently not taking seriously the damage a cyberattack could inflict, nor are we adequately guarding the valuable commodity our present system of cyber defense is called upon to protect.”
The legislation also grants the OIT director elements of financial oversight that are not currently in place.
“We wouldn’t be dealing with cases of fiscal mismanagement that currently exist in the Department of Revenue or Unemployment Compensation call centers if House Bill 1704 was in effect now,” added co-sponsor Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny). “A similar bill is awaiting action in the Senate, which should make it that much easier to get legislation to the governor’s desk in a relatively short period of time.”
“A cyberattack on the Senate Democrat Caucus last year brought operations to a virtual halt for more than a month,” Grove added. “These criminals have the capability to significantly impact government’s ability to function, and we need to put in place a sufficient system of defense in order to ward off an attack on our technology.”
Representative Kristin Phillips-Hill
93rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little