Federal Government Cracks Down on Cybersecurity as States Remain at Risk

As the U.S House continues to work through markups of the suggested $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, funding for key issues takes shape. The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee pushed their respective technology and cybersecurity sections of the package during separate markups. Most notably, the House Homeland Security Committee advanced amended legislation to provide an additional $865 million to expand CISA’s cyber capabilities over the next 10 years after an uptick in cyber and ransomware attacks. The measure includes $400 million to help CISA implement the Biden administration’s cybersecurity executive order from May and $100 million to educate and train a larger cybersecurity workforce.

The time and resources that are being spent throughout the infrastructure bill process in order to shore up cybersecurity across the government and private sector shows just how critical this issue is to all Americans. 

China Tech Threat commends the government on their work to protect the privacy, security and prosperity of people across the country, but there is more to be done, especially on the state level. Principally on hardware that state governments and agencies use across the country. 

China Tech Threat has exposed 28 states that have been engaging in risky tech contracts with Chinese government-owned technology manufacturers including Lexmark and Lenovo, both of which have been restricted by the Pentagon

Now, our latest work found that Wyoming has spent over $86,000 on Lenovo products in recent years. Most of the spending by the Wyoming State Government was through the Legislative Services Office who have access to a wide range of sensitive information. 

Read full FOIA report:

Beyond the Legislative Services Office,the Wyoming State Treasurer’s office has spent a large chunk of money on these risky products. This office is tasked with “receiving, safeguarding, and investing all funds in the possession of the State for purposes of safekeeping or investment in a prudent manner.” The department’s access to large amounts of money and highly sensitive investment information should make it a security priority. However, it has spent almost $23,000 dollars on Lenovo equipment. 

State and federal officials representing Iowa should work together to take action against these risky purchases. Mandy Gershmel, Senior Buyer at the Wyoming Department of Administration & Information, Procurement Section Tim Sheehan, Interim Director & Chief Information Officer, can work within the state government to prevent Lenovo products from being used or purchased.

Further, members representing Wyoming  have been leaders in the fight against Chinese aggression in the technological sphere. Senator Barrasso has been outspoken on China’s predatory behaviour, particularly as it pertains to the country taking advantage of the international system. In August of 2021 year he lead a bill to end lending to China from the World Bank and Asian Development Banking saying “Our legislation ensures the Chinese Communist Party can no longer take advantage of these low-cost loans subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.” His awareness of the CCPs abuses primes him to take thoughtful action on this issue in his state. 

Additionally, Rep. Cheney has been a leading figure in the fight against Chinese technology aggression. She has warned a number of times against Chinese espionage saying “[the NDAA helps] protect against Chinese industrial espionage, helps us to be much more independent, our supply chains, and to protect our bases from the threat of Chinese espionage. We really need to make sure, across-the-board, we’re defending ourselves.” We encourage her to help leaders within Wyoming recognize the severity of these vulnerabilities.  to ensure we are indeed defending and protecting our citizens. 

This bipartisan issue affects all Americans. We urge those who can act to do so and we hope that our elected officials who work to protect user privacy will resolve this increasingly concerning threat.