Oversight

IG: Coast Guard needs improved laptop security

Coast Guardsman using laptop

LeTroy Burgess records buoy-station data in Baltimore Harbor in this photo from 2011. (Coast Guard photo by Tasha Tully)

The Coast Guard needs to improve its laptop security through more diligent inventory management and restricting the purchase of non-standard laptops, a report by the Homeland Security Department's Inspector General found.

Some of USCG’s reported 15,000 laptops don’t meet the service's own security standards, while its procedures for implementing security patches and other measures required by the Department of Homeland Security have deficiencies.

"The use of laptop computers with built-in wireless Internet features has increased the mobility and productivity of the Federal workforce," the report said. "However, the popularity of laptops has also increased the risk of theft and unauthorized disclosure of sensitive data at Federal agencies."

The IG's recommendations include resolving incompatibility of some applications and implementing procedures to ensure data is either erased or unreadable when necessary.

USCG officials concurred with all seven recommendations. Click here to download the report.

About the Author

Reid Davenport is a former FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him on Twitter: @ReidDavenport.

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