Report: DHS chief used personal email on work computer despite risk - It’s a black eye for a department that has positioned itself as the government’s civilian leader on cybersecurity.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other top DHS officials continued to access their personal email accounts from their work computers more than a year after the department banned the practice as a security risk, Bloomberg reported Monday — a revelation that raises more questions about the federal government’s shaky cybersecurity practices.
DHS spokeswoman Marsha Catron confirmed to POLITICO that “some individuals” at the department had gotten exemptions allowing them to access personal webmail from work computers, though she did not confirm that Johnson was among them. She said the department has since revoked the allowances.
The report from Bloomberg View doesn’t cite any evidence that Johnson or the other officials had used personal email to conduct government business — the practice that has generated plenty of heat for Hillary Clinton after she used a private email server while secretary of state.
Even so, the report offers a black eye for a department that has positioned itself as the government’s civilian leader on cybersecurity. Security experts say allowing workers to access personal email on work networks creates a vulnerability, making it harder to filter or block emails that seek to dupe employees into installing malicious software or divulging sensitive information. And the government’s cybersecurity efforts have faced increasingly intense scrutiny following the two massive hacks that compromised personal data on more than 20 million people.