Public data at SSA not secure

Weaknesses in computer systems at the Social Security Administration have exposed the agency to external and internal intrusion, jeopardizing sensitive information to unauthorized users, according to a report released last month by the General Accounting Office.

The report, part of a GAO series on "Major Management Challenges and Program Risks" at federal agencies, also states that the weaknesses have increased the risk of introducing errors or irregularities into data processing operations and have allowed some individuals to bypass critical controls, such as authorization and supervisory review.

SSA also faces difficult choices about how to provide cost-effective, world-class service to its customers, who are now living longer. SSA may need to restructure how it does business to take advantage of new technologies and cost-effectively meet changing customer preferences, according to the report.

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