By Brian Robinson
Jan. 17, 2007
Information technology management problems at the U.S. Coast Guard are
causing concerns about the Transportation Security Administration's
financial and operational data, according to an inspector general's
The problem is that the Coast Guard, which hosts several key financial
applications for TSA, needs to improve the internal controls over its
information systems and processes, according to the recent report by the
Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General.
The agency has made some gains since an earlier audit by the IG's
office, but more needs to be done, according to the report. Until that
happens, the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the TSA data
cannot be assured, the report states.
The redacted report does not identify the particular system in question,
but the problems, according to the document, stem from challenges
related to the merging of numerous IT functions and processes, as well
as overall organizational shortages.
In some cases, auditors found instances of missing or weak user
passwords and missing or poorly configured security patches. They found
that weaknesses in some system software could enable users to skirt
security control and allow authorized system users to gain unauthorized
access to certain system privileges.
Application software development and change control procedures were also
found to be inconsistent with both DHS and federal guidance, the IG
said. For example, auditors found incomplete documentation of risk
assessments for software patches and for test plans and their results.
Officials at both TSA and the Coast Guard agreed with the observations
in the report, which covered fiscal year 2005. However, agency officials
also responded that they had already begun to address many of the
weaknesses in fiscal 2006 and that the remainder would be tackled during
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