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Sen. Mark Warner Seeks Cybersecurity, Wireless Comm Updates From Washington Metro Transit Agency

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) has asked the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority about its cybersecurity operations, wireless communication deployment efforts and measures to address interoperability issues related to its communications systems for first responders.

Warner, co-founder of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, raised the three areas of concern in a letter to Paul Wiedefeld, general manager of WMATA, in response to the Jan. 12, 2015 smoke incident at L’Enfant Plaza wherein radio problems prevented emergency response communications, the lawmaker’s office said Monday.

The letter also mentioned reports of a ransomware attack on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in November that left SFMTA’s computer networks inoperable and forced the agency to “forgo thousands of dollars in collected fares.”

Warner asked WMTA to respond by Feb. 15 to several questions about its computer networks, such as the presence of backup systems in the event of a computer system outage, adoption of network segmentation measures, and availability of a comprehensive plan to address ransomware attacks.

He also requested updates on the agency’s plans to expand its wireless communications network and deploy a public access Wi-Fi at its underground stations.

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