(Reuters) – The U.S. cybersecurity watchdog has no confidence that the cellular network used by U.S. first responders and the military is secure from digital intrusions, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said in a letter released on Wednesday.
The letter from the Oregon Democrat, a member of the Intelligence Committee, was addressed to the National Security Agency and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. That’s FirstNet, a dedicated mobile network for public safety officials such as first responders, firefighters and law enforcement.
Wyden’s staff was told by an unidentified CISA expert last year that “they had no confidence in the security of FirstNet, largely because they have not seen the results of any cybersecurity audits conducted against this government-only network,”; the letter said.
It argued that it was time for the agency to share its internal audits with CISA, the NSA and Congress.
FirstNet said in a statement that it “prioritized cybersecurity in planning the public safety broadband network, and it continues to be a top priority for us today.”
The organization, which was built by AT&T Inc., went on to say that its defense strategy “goes far beyond standard commercial network security measures.”
CISA declined to comment, saying it would respond to Wyden directly. The NSA did not return messages seeking comment.
Wyden said the lack of clarity around the security measures at FirstNet — which was set up in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to provide a robust line of communication for first responders — was particularly troubling.
“These security flaws are also a national security issue, particularly if foreign governments can exploit these flaws to target U.S. government personnel,” he said.
The Federal Communications Commission, the White House and the Office of Management and Budget — all of which were copied on the letter — did not immediately respond to requests for comment.