Auditor Adam Edelen pushing for better cyber security

House Bill 5 would require faster reporting of breaches and establish training

By Kevin Wheatley, Published:

Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen has thrown his support behind legislation aimed to improve cyber security within state and local government.

House Bill 5 would require agencies to report security breaches — such as lost or stolen health records, banking information or Social Security numbers — to law enforcement, the state auditor’s office and relevant state departments within 24 hours and notify affected individuals within 35 days. If a breach affects more than 1,000 people, the Finance Cabinet and national consumer reporting agencies would be notified.

The bill would also establish cyber security training through the Commonwealth Office of Technology and require agencies to encrypt confidential information on their computer systems.

“Every cyber security expert agrees that it’s not a matter of if an agency is hacked, but when,” Edelen said, noting Kentucky is one of four states without a notification law. “… As residents of Kentucky it’s your data, so it’s your right to be notified when it’s lost or stolen so you can protect yourself.”

He cited a major breach in South Carolina, where much of the state’s personal and corporate income tax data was hacked in 2012. South Carolina has paid some $30 million in identity theft prevention and credit monitoring, according to an audit on Kentucky government cyber security by Edelen’s office last month.

State and local agencies in Kentucky have been victims of security breaches, though on smaller scales. 

An agency inadvertently posted Social Security numbers, birth dates and other personal information of some employees on its website in 2012, and hackers stole more then $400,000 from Bullitt County Fiscal Court’s online banking account, according to the audit.

Edelen also mentioned instances of former Kentucky Retirement Systems employees maintaining access to sensitive records after leaving the agency.

The bill has bipartisan support, with 65 co-sponsors and counting. 

Rep. Denny Butler, a Louisville Democrat and bill sponsor, said he expects the measure will have 75 co-sponsors, while Republican Rep. Sal Santoro of Florence predicted all 100 state representatives would co-sponsor the legislation.

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