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The VA’s information security system is also terrible

30/05/2014 by


The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Inspector General released a report Thursday that said the VA has done little to create a strong information security regime, and had to repeat many of the recommendations it made last year for fixing this problem.

The report was the second in two days that criticised the VA — on Wednesday, the Inspector General released an interim report confirming some of the problems related to the VA healthcare scandal.

Thursday’s report was an assessment of the VA’s computer security system that is legally required under the Federal Information Security Management Act, or FISMA. But the report was not kind, and said the VA has a way to go before it can be seen as complying with that law.

“VA continues to face significant challenges in complying with the requirements of FISMA due to the nature and maturity of its information security program,” it said.

“Weaknesses in access and configuration management controls resulted from VA not fully implementing security control standards on all servers and network devices. VA also has not effectively implemented procedures to identify and remediate system security vulnerabilities on network devices, database and server platforms, and Web applications VA-wide.”

The report also found the VA has not fixed about 6,000 system security risks that had been previously identified. CliftonLarsonAllen, which was contracted to perform the audit, added that it found “material weaknesses” in VA’s information security infrastructure.

Several recommendations are made in the report, most of which were made last year but have not been implemented.

For example, the report recommended that the VA implement an agency-wide risk management system, and do a better job enforcing password policies across all systems. It also said the VA needs to review information security violations when they happen, and set up policies for safely accessing data remotely.

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