IRS open to cyberattacks

The General Accounting Office last week released a report that urges the Internal Revenue Service to "assure [that] its computer systems are properly designed and protected."

In a fiscal 1997 audit of the IRS, GAO found that controls of the agency's automated systems have "serious weaknesses in the areas such as physical security, data communications management and contingency planning," according to the report. "As a result, their weaknesses leave the IRS vulnerable to unauthorized access, enabling sensitive data and programs to be altered or deleted."


PCCIP to set R&D funding

The President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection Transition Office will release a follow-on report by the end of this month recommending levels of spending on research and development related to information infrastructure assurance.

David Keyes, former acting director of the PCCIP Transition Office, said the study will put "flesh on the bones" of a report issued last October that concluded in part that the nation's R&D investment in infrastructure protection is inadequate. At that time, the commission recommended a 20 percent increase in R&D spending over the next five years.


GSA eyes 'rapid response'

The General Services Administration hopes to institute a "rapid response" procurement process as part of its yet-to-be-awarded Seat Management contract that will cut the time from task-order issuance to task-order award to 12 weeks.

The Seat Management contract, a five-year, multiple-award pact, will allow agencies to acquire desktop equipment and services as a utility, relinquishing control of their desktop operations to GSA. The contract is expected to be awarded in the third week of May.

Wanda Smith, director of the Special Projects Office in GSA's Office of Information Technology Integration and program director of the Seat Management initiative, said GSA plans to award the first few task orders under the outsourcing contract and then allow agencies to award their own, thereby saving themselves GSA surcharges.


Report: EC booming

More than one-quarter of real economic growth during the past five years has come from information technology, according to a Commerce Department report released last week called "The Emerging Digital Economy." In addition, traffic on the Internet is doubling every 100 days, and by 2002 Internet commerce between companies will likely surpass $300 billion.

"Businesses of all sizes should prepare for the digital economy, and given the new role of electronic commerce, government should rethink the way it looks at the economy," said Commerce Secretary William Daley.


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