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April 11, 2021

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Senate OKs measure creating state Office of Cybersecurity

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OLYMPIA (AP) — In response to a security breach that exposed personal information from around 1.6 million unemployment claims filed last year, the Washington Senate has unanimously passed a measure that creates a state Office of Cybersecurity.

The measure, passed by the chamber on Wednesday, creates the office within the Office of the Chief Information Officer. The bill now heads to the House.

If passed by the full Legislature and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee, the office would set security policies and develop centralized protocols for managing the state’s information technology assets.

Earlier this month, the state auditor’s office said the breach involved third-party software used by the auditor’s office to transmit files. The software vendor, Accellion, announced last month that it had been attacked in December.

The measure would direct all state entities and state agencies, to adopt programs that incorporate cybersecurity standards set by the office and to report cybersecurity incidents within 24 hours.

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