>>> “Perez, Bill” <> 12/7/2009 9:09 AM >>>
December 3, CNSNews – (National) U.S. not fully prepared to stop cyber
attacks, federal report says.
A government audit found that the threat of cyber attacks on federal
computer networks is increasing and that the United States is not
entirely prepared to deal with the threat.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a November 17 report
titled “Cybersecurity: Continued Efforts Are Needed to Protect
Information Systems from Evolving Threats” said “reports of security
incidents from federal agencies are on the rise, increasing by over 200
percent from fiscal year 2006 to fiscal year 2008.” Cyber attacks at the
Department of Homeland Security during that time, for example, rose from
5,503 to 16,843, according to the report. The culprits include foreign
nations, criminals, and hackers, the report says, entities that can use
technology to “cross multiple state and national borders” to carry out
an infiltration at high speed by “attacking a vast number of victims at
the same time.” In so doing, attackers “can more easily remain
anonymous,” said the GAO. These threats can be targeted at a specific
system, or untargeted, which would be a virus, worm, or malicious
software released on the Internet with no specific target. The lack of
preparedness could hit home for the average American as “sensitive
information, such as taxpayer data, Social Security records, medical
records, intellectual property, and proprietary business information,
could be inappropriately disclosed, browsed, or copied for purposes of
identity theft, espionage, or other types of crime,” said the GAO.
According to the report, “resources, such as federal payments and
collections, could be lost or stolen,” and “computer resources could be
used for unauthorized purposes or to launch attacks on other computer
systems.” Further, the report states, “Critical operations, such as
those supporting critical infrastructure, national defense, and
emergency services, could be disrupted,” that “data could be added,
modified, or deleted for purposes of fraud, subterfuge, or disruption,”
and “agency missions could be undermined by embarrassing incidents that
result in diminished confidence in the ability of federal organizations
to conduct operations and fulfill their responsibilities.” The GAO found
significant weaknesses at 23 of 24 major federal agencies it surveyed
for the study.
News Source: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/57945
GAO Report: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10230t.pdf
A copy of the report will be available in the TX-ISAC portal library.