The following tips are being offered to Republican Offices on how to protect sensitive data:

  • Password-protect all Blackberries and assign fairly short time-out periods that will require sign-in to access data on all of your BlackBerry devices. Doing so will prevent the information they contain from being obtained by unauthorized and possibly malicious individuals, and prevent the data contained within the devices from being used to attack the House network if they are lost or stolen.
  • Ensure password security. Desktop and portable computers should have strong passwords, changed every 90 days, and should be locked when not in use. For more information about what makes a password "strong," contact the CAO's Technology Call Center at 5-6002.
  • Ensure all computers remain updated with the latest anti-virus, firewall, and operating system security patches.
  • Do not use Instant Messaging (IM) Applications, file-sharing or peer-to-peer software, and ensure that all office staff cease using these programs.
  • Ensure that all staff refrain from downloading and using third-party applications on their desktop or portable computer, or on their handheld devices including BlackBerries.
  • Have staff attend a security awareness training session or online training and institute the recommended information security actions discussed during the training.
  • Future training schedules will be posted on HouseNet as they become available. Do not take BlackBerry devices on overseas travel. If it is absolutely necessary to do so, have them scanned before and after travel, and keep them with you or in a tamper-proof bag at all times. Having them scanned after travel, without scanning before the travel, is not useful.
  • Never open an e-mail message, attachment, or Web link unless the source is certain.

For additional information contact the Committee at 5-8281.