U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich have strongly urged the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to take steps to minimize harm to federal employees in New Mexico and across the country who were affected by the recent data breach that resulted in the theft of millions of employees’ personal information. In a letter to the OPM director, the senators expressed their disappointment with the data breach and called on OPM to take specific actions to improve security controls and prevent cyber theft.
In June, OPM warned that millions of current and former federal employees’ personal information may have been compromised by a security breach. The senators said in their letter that the breach has raised major concerns, particularly among the 27,000 federal workers in New Mexico.
“Federal employees entrust their personal and sensitive information to the federal government with the expectation that their information is secure and protected,” the senators wrote to OPM Director Katherine Archuleta. “Ensuring that the private information of federal employees is safe from cyber theft and hackers is the minimum level of protection we must provide.”
The senators continued, “We are aware that your agency has offered some services, including credit monitoring and credit report access, to employees who may be at risk of fraud or identity theft. However, we would also like to know what, if any, additional steps are being taken to protect these individuals, what recourse may be available to them if they suffer losses due to breach, and how many federal employees in New Mexico may have been directly impacted by the breach.”
Udall, then chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, spoke at a hearing last year about the need for federal information and cyber security reform. In the letter, the senators said that this latest incident highlights the need for further improvements to OPM’s security controls to prevent future security breaches and safeguard government employees’ sensitive and personal information.
As a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Heinrich has worked to protect the country from cyber security threats and continues to support measures to bolster national security in the digital age.