GAO: FDIC needs stronger security controls

GAO: FDIC needs stronger security controls
GAO: FDIC needs stronger security controls

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By Mary Mosquera
June 4, 2008

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation needs to strengthen its 
configuration management and access controls to avoid risk to some of 
its financial systems, the Government Accountability Office has said in 
a report. Meanwhile, the FDIC has corrected most other existing 
information security weaknesses, according to the report.

A key reason for the latest weaknesses the auditors found is that the 
FDIC did not always fully implement critical information security 
program activities, GAO said.

For example, multiple FDIC users shared the same login ID and password, 
had unrestricted access to application source code and used a password 
that was not adequately encrypted. The FDIC also did not fully test 
configuration controls, GAO reported,

Until the FDIC fully performs key information security program 
activities, GAO said there is an increased risk that it may not be able 
to maintain sufficient control over its financial systems and 

=E2=80=9CAlthough FDIC has made significant progress improving its information 
system controls, old and new weaknesses could limit the corporation=E2=80=99s 
ability to effectively protect the confidentiality, integrity and 
availability of its financial systems and information,=E2=80=9D said Gregory 
Wilshusen, director of GAO=E2=80=99s information security issues.

GAO recommended that the FDIC improve:

* Access controls by not sharing login ID and password accounts, limit 
  access to application source code and encrypt the database connection 
  with strong passwords.
* Configuration management by developing and implementing requirement 
  baselines, assure that configuration items have unique identifiers; 
  and configuration changes are properly authorized, documented and 

* Security management by making sure that users adequately test 
  configuration controls as part of the system test and evaluation 
* The corporation's security comprehensive plan with actions and 
  milestones that will include deciding who is responsible for the 
  corrective action, status of the action and when the action will be 

The FDIC is taking action to improve configuration management and 
overall security management, said Steven App, the corporation's chief 
financial officer. Most corrective actions will be completed by December 
31, he said.

Meanwhile, GAO also reported that the FDIC has fixed or made significant 
progress on 16 of the 21 security weaknesses the GAO's auditors reported 
last year.

The corporation has improved physical security controls over access to 
one of its computer processing facilities, and has instructed personnel 
to use more secure e-mail methods to protect the integrity of accounting 
data transferred over an internal communication network, GAO said.

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