MeriTalk News Briefs: Cyber Fusion Center Opened, Stolen OPM Data Showing Up in Courts, Analytics Funding Bill Delayed

Welcome to MeriTalk News Briefs, where we bring you all the day’s action that didn’t quite make the headlines. No need to shout about ‘em, but we do feel that they merit talk.

Accenture Opens Cyber Fusion Center

Accenture announced today that it has opened a new Cyber Fusion Center in Arlington, Va. The center is “designed to help organizations apply new techniques and intelligent tools to defend against data breaches and cyber attacks,” according to an Accenture press release. In addition to opening the Cyber Fusion Center, Accenture also announced that it plans to add 1,000 technology jobs in the metro D.C. region by the end of 2020, including in the areas of security, digital, and cloud. The center includes a secure hardware test center that conducts advanced research for zero-day vulnerability discovery and defensive countermeasure analysis derived from malware reverse engineering.

Stolen OPM Data Resurfaces in Criminal Trials

Data stolen from the 2015 Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach is now resurfacing in criminal trials. Kariva Cross, 39, pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in a Newport News, Va., Federal court. Marlon Mc­Knight, 40, pleaded guilty last week to the same charges. Both individuals used data stolen from the OPM breach to take out fraudulent loans through a Federal credit union. It appears to be the first criminal case involving OPM data that the Justice Department has publicly disclosed, the Washington Post reported. It’s unclear how the two individuals got access to the identities they stole, though the breach has been linked back to China–with one Chinese national arrested in August 2017. The data resurfacing four years after the initial breach gives might give needed momentum the Reducing the Effects of the Cyberattack on OPM Victims Emergency Response (RECOVER) Act, sponsored by Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., and Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C. The bill would provide free lifetime identity protection coverage to current, former, and prospective Federal employees and contractors whose Social Security Numbers were compromised by OPM breach.

Senate Consideration of Analytics Funding Bill Postponed

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee postponed a business meeting scheduled for today to consider Senate bill 3039, the Using Data to Help Protect Children and Families Act, among other bills. S.3039 would provide funding for the development of a predictive analytics pilot program to help children and families who come to the attention of the child welfare system. “We should explore every possible opportunity to do better for our children, and predictive analytics tools provide such an opportunity,” the bill states, adding that such analytics programs could aid in the “development of research-based strategies for risk and safety assessments relating to child abuse and neglect.” The meeting has not yet been rescheduled.

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