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Lawmakers ask for deeper look into FDA security hack

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Digital lock (Shutterstock)
Digital lock (Shutterstock)

Washington lawmakers today asked for a more thorough review of a security attack against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year, which resulted in compromised data. That attack took place on October 15th, 2013, which was the last day of the US government shutdown, and resulted in a breach of names, phone numbers, passwords and other sensitive information on some 14,000 accounts — 5,000 of which were active. Now five Republican members from the US Energy and Commerce committee want to know more about just how it went down, and have sent a letter to FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg asking for a third-party audit of the agency's security response.

"It is very troubling."

"It is very troubling that such a security breach could have occurred, particularly given the resources invested," the group wrote in their letter for Hamburg. "To restore public confidence in the FDA's information security, we request that you immediately obtain a third-party audit from a qualified expert to assess and ensure the adequacy of FDA's corrective actions taken in response to this incident."

Separately, the group sent a letter to the head of the US Government Accountability Office, requesting similar such security examinations of other federal organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health. The FDA has until December 23rd, 2013 to respond to the requests for more details, as well as the audit on the breach.