OPM bringing users back on to e-QIP in increments

After a pair of breaches rocked OPM and a vulnerability was discovered in the agency's e-QIP system; now user access is slowly being re-enabled.
After a pair of breaches rocked OPM and a vulnerability was discovered in the agency's e-QIP system; now user access is slowly being re-enabled.

Less than four weeks after a review of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) IT systems uncovered a vulnerability in the e-QIP system used to submit background investigation forms and caused the agency shut it down, OPM has begun re-enabling user access to e-QIP.

OPM said in a release that is working with agencies to incrementally restore user access to the system, which it says the agency and its partner agencies have tested “extensively.” The release noted that while e-QIP was offline, OPM cyber experts in other agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), worked together to enhance the systems security.

Separately, the Senate Committee on Appropriations voted to give OPM the $21 million boost to its budget to fix vulnerabilities that President Obama requested. But the same committee gave a thumbs down to a bigger increase proposed in an amendment to fiscal legislation for 2016 introduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

If the committee had approved the amendment it would have doubled the agency's budget for those fixes and pushed the completion of its modernization program up by a whole year. As it is, “the bill fully funds the President's requested increase for IT security improvements at the agency, while requiring OPM to work with Office of Management and Budget, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies with expertise on data security in order to prevent future data breaches,” a release said.

After former OPM Director Katherine Archuleta stepped down July 9, Mikulski issued a statement saying that “her resignation should not distract us from the real work that needs to be done in the Executive Branch and in Congress to fix this mess and implement the reforms needed to prevent a breach in the future.”

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