A Department of Veterans Affairs website recently experienced a data breach that affected thousands of veterans and their families. Now, the House Veterans Affairs Committee is looking into the incident, adding it to the recent investigations it has been conducting on the veterans agency.
According to Federal News Radio, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki sent a letter to the committee last week, requesting answers to 18 questions regarding the security breach. Shinseki expects the responses by Jan. 31.
"The agency's information systems, including the eBenefits portal, continue to be afflicted by persistent information security weaknesses," Shinseki wrote. "Recognizing the importance of securing Veterans' personal information, and minimalizing the risk of serious consequences such as identity theft or other fraudulent activity, the Committee expects VA to take all steps necessary to strengthen the security and privacy of the eBenefits portal."
Shinseki is expecting the VA to outline how it identified the number of users affected by the security breach, how these users were notified and if veterans are requesting evidence of their personal information being stolen.
The eBenefits Web portal, which is also partially operated by the Department of Defense, provides information on various military benefits, including health care and education assistance. According to the VA, approximately 10,000 users logged into the portal the day the cyber breach occurred.