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DHS Provides Employees, Contractors Network Access Via Alternative Credentials

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has started releasing derived alternative credentials to allow staff and contractors with expiring personal identity verification cards to gain remote access to DHS networks during the coronavirus pandemic, Federal News Network reported Monday.

The department’s office of the chief security officer worked with DHS’ chief information officer and subcomponents to develop the new credential. DHS said it has issued 76 alternative credentials since Friday, May 8, and most of the credentials have been released to personnel at the department’s headquarters.

The department started testing the new credentials on April 6 and made them available on April 21. The approval process for the alternative credential involves a DHS security professional verifying an employee’s identity through video conference.

Once the contractor or personnel is cleared for the new credential, the department will send by mail the access card and other tools to allow the recipients to telework. The alternative credentials come with logical access tokens and do not permit physical access to a DHS facility.