No surprise: Security problems persist

"GAO report on Information Security"

Federal agencies received another tongue-lashing from the Government Accountability Office for inconsistent information security practices in a report issued today. GAO's auditors also criticized the Office of Management and Budget for weaknesses in its security reporting guidance.

GAO’s auditors said agencies have made federal information and information systems more secure, as required by law under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) of 2002. But, as in previous audits, they found weaknesses in the information security policies and practices at 24 of the largest federal agencies. Those weaknesses put financial data at risk of unauthorized modification or destruction, and put sensitive information at risk of inappropriate disclosure, the report states.

The auditors also criticized agencies’ lack of planning to ensure that they can continue operating in the event of a cyberattack or other major disruption.

GAO’s auditors noted that OMB officials disagreed with some of the report’s suggestions for improving its FISMA reporting guidance.

House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.), one of the lawmakers who requested the report, issued a statement today saying that additional amendments to FISMA may be needed to achieve full intent of the legislation. “Given the ever-evolving nature of cyberthreats, complacency is not an option,” he said.

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