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The Secure ID Coalition Applauds the National Cybersecurity Plan for Emphasizing the Importance of Multifactor Authentication

The Secure ID Coalition applauds the White House's newly-announced National Cybersecurity Plan as an important step towards securing the identities and personal information of American citizens. The Secure ID Coalition has led the way in advocating for the adoption of the latest technologies that protect the identities of Americans. The Coalition commends the Administration for highlighting the importance of multifactor authentication in securing public and private information systems as well as personal data of all American citizens.

Multifactor authentication typically makes use of hardware tokens—such as a smart card or smartphone—in addition to a password or PIN to ensure to a high degree of confidence that users engaging in transactions or accessing information in cyberspace are who they say they are. Tragically, the Office of Personnel Management's failure to fully implement federal multifactor authentication requirements resulted in the largest U.S. government data breach in history, when last year it was revealed that the sensitive information of more than 21 million current and former federal employees and contractors was compromised. By focusing on multifactor authentication, the plan is helping to ensure that the federal government take seriously its responsibility to protect the personal information of American citizens.

The National Cybersecurity Plan also highlights the important role that innovative payment technologies will play in securing American's bank accounts and financial transactions. The Coalition has strongly supported the President's BuySecure Initiative, which seeks to accelerate the development of next-generation payment security tools, including chip-based payment cards that will dramatically reduce the occurrence of card-not-present payment fraud in the United States. The BuySecure Initiative seeks to optimize the ongoing EMV chip card transition by requiring that payment cards issued by the federal government incorporate Chip and PIN authentication and that payment processing hardware is upgraded to process these transactions.

Given the string of data breaches at high-profile health insurers and providers in recent years, it only makes sense for us to explore how multifactor authentication can secure our private healthcare information. The National Cybersecurity Plan calls on health insurers and stakeholders to take significant steps to enhance their data stewardship practices. The Secure ID Coalition has long advocated for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid services to issue an upgraded Medicare card incorporating a secure chip that will not only help reduce the $60 billion per year lost to Medicare fraud, but also secure access to patients' electronic health records containing their sensitive medical information. By upgrading the Medicare card, the federal government can not only implement a critical element of the National Cybersecurity Plan, but send a powerful signal to health stakeholders that when it comes to securing health data, the bare minimum is no long acceptable.

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