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Maria Roat: SBA Addresses Cyber Threats Amid Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

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Maria Roat
Maria Roat

Maria Roat, chief information officer at the Small Business Administration (SBA) and a 2020 Wash100 Award winner, said SBA’s security operations team is implementing SBA Connect authentication for new capabilities and performing penetration testing to address data security issues during the coronavirus pandemic, FedScoop reported Thursday.

“My security team, they live for this stuff because — when you look at small businesses, security, what’s going on in the entire financial space — we’ve taken down, working with [the Department of Homeland Security], eight fraudulent websites and two Twitter accounts that were imitating our administrator,” Roat said Thursday during an AFFIRM webinar.

She noted that the agency had to establish platforms “very quickly” to facilitate the distribution of funds to small businesses as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and other stimulus measures.

SBA launched a lender gateway for the Paycheck Protection Program’s portal and a software-as-a-service platform for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan initiative. Roat said the agency geofenced the two loan portals to beef up cybersecurity.