Cybersecurity

USPS flooded with false malware positives

Shutterstock image (by Pavel Ignatov): Alert icon.

The U.S. Postal Service's system for handling IT security events is almost entirely reporting false positives for malware, and leaders have known about the problem but haven't fixed it, according to a recently released inspector general report.

Auditors noted that a large number of false positives can threaten a system's ability to catch and mitigate the real threats.

The IG's office analyzed the 10 program files that USPS' system most commonly referenced as malware, which represented 97 percent of malware reports in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015.

Nearly all were bunk.

"IT security management stated they were aware that all but one of these programs were false positives based on earlier research but did not remove them due to other priorities, such as implementing new tools and processes," the auditors wrote.

A spokesperson said the report was delivered to USPS officials on May 10, but it was only made public last week.

Agency leaders agreed with the IG's recommendation to weed out false positives. Chief Information Security Officer Randy Miskanic said such work is part of the agency's ongoing security overhaul, which USPS plans to finish by the end of the year.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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