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    Subject Term: "Unauthorized access"

    5 publications with a total of 25 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To effectively implement key elements of the FDA's information security program, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to update security plans to ensure the plans fully and accurately document the controls selected and intended for protecting each of the six systems.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA concurred with the recommendation but has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To effectively implement key elements of the FDA's information security program, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to implement a process to effectively monitor and track training for personnel with significant security roles and responsibilities.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA concurred with the recommendation but has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To effectively implement key elements of the FDA's information security program, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to ensure that personnel with significant security responsibilities receive role-based training.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA concurred with the recommendation but has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202) 512-9377

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to develop and implement agency-wide procedures to routinely monitor the accuracy of penalties recorded in taxpayer accounts to timely detect and correct errors.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: During fiscal year 2015, IRS conducted a trial quality review to evaluate the accuracy of penalty assessments recorded in a sample of taxpayer accounts and took action to address the errors it identified. Based on its trial review, IRS developed procedures for performing this type of review in June 2016 and informed us that it would formalize procedures in the IRM to include routine monitoring and testing of the accuracy of penalty assessments in taxpayer accounts. However, as of September 30, 2016, IRS had not implemented these procedures or documented them in the IRM. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to determine the reason(s) why taxpayer assistance centers (TAC) managers and personnel did not consistently comply with existing Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) requirements that TAC managers and personnel (1) perform and document reviews of the Follow-Up Review Log by the last day of the following month, (2) maintain control copies of transmittal forms, and (3) ship taxpayer receipts and information via traceable overnight mail and, based on this determination, establish a process to better enforce compliance with these requirements.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that it has performed a study of the causes of noncompliance with the IRM requirements and will complete all related corrective actions by May 2017. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should update the IRM to require managers to reconcile transmittal forms with the Follow-Up Review Log to reasonably assure that personnel are properly entering transmittal forms into the log and are appropriately documenting follow-up on unacknowledged transmittals of taxpayer receipts and information.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: While IRS updated the IRM in April 2016 to require TAC managers to (1) perform a semiannual reconciliation of document transmittal forms to the associated Follow-Up Review Log to monitor employee compliance with IRM requirements and (2) document this reconciliation on Form 14698, Field Assistance Taxpayer Assistance Centers Remittance and Non-Remittance Log Reconciliation, our fiscal year 2016 audit testing identified instances where the use of the form was not fully implemented at the TACs we visited. Further, we continued to identify instances where TAC employees did not always (1) track document transmittals on the Follow-up Review Log and (2) follow up on late acknowledgments timely. In one instance, we found that TAC personnel did not document on the log the actions that were taken for a package that was lost; however, the manager had completed a review of the Follow-up Review Log. We will continue to evaluate the results of IRS's corrective actions during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish a process to ensure that the requirement for unauthorized access awareness training is explicitly communicated to non-IRS contractors who have unescorted access to IRS facilities.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that by July 2017, it will partner with FPS and GSA to establish a process to help ensure that all contractors who require unescorted access are first approved for interim or final staff-like access and complete mandatory information protection and security awareness training within 10 business days of approved staff-like access. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to establish procedures to monitor whether non-IRS contractors with unescorted physical access to IRS facilities are receiving unauthorized access awareness training.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that by July 2017, it will send out a communication to its FMSS field offices that will include SOPs for monitoring training and acquiring unauthorized access awareness training documentation for each non-IRS contract employee. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of IRS should direct the appropriate IRS officials to determine why staff did not consistently comply with IRS's existing requirements for the final candling of receipts at service center campuses and lockbox banks, including logging remittances found during final candling on the final candling log at the time of discovery, safeguarding the remittances at the time of discovery, transferring the remittances to the deposit unit promptly, and passing one envelope at a time over the light source, and based on this determination, establish a process to better enforce compliance with these requirements.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS's efforts to address this recommendation are ongoing. IRS stated that by July 2017, it will identify and analyze the risks associated with candling at the SCCs and lockbox banks, along with any mitigating factors, to determine if further actions are warranted. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 audit.
    Director: Kingsbury, Nancy R
    Phone: (202) 512-2700

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: In addition to implementing our previous recommendations, to effectively implement key elements of the IRS information security program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should ensure contractors receive security awareness training within 5 business days of being granted access to an IRS information system.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: During the audit of IRS' FY 2017 financial statements, IRS indicated that it had not yet implemented this recommendation. When IRS indicates that it has implemented this recommendation, we will review its actions.
    Recommendation: In addition to implementing our previous recommendations, to effectively implement key elements of the IRS information security program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should ensure that control testing methodology and results fully meet the intent of the control objectives being tested.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: During the audit of IRS's FY 2017 financial statements, IRS indicated that it has not completed these actions. When IRS indicates that it has implemented the recommendation, we will evaluate the effectiveness of its actions.
    Recommendation: In addition to implementing our previous recommendations, to effectively implement key elements of the IRS information security program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should update the remedial action verification process to ensure actions are fully implemented.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: During the audit of IRS's FY 2017 financial statements, IRS indicated that it has not completed actions to implement the recommendation. When IRS indicates that it has implemented the recommendation, we will evaluate the effectiveness of its actions.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    12 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to establish a mechanism to ensure that all contractor staff complete annual security awareness training as required by federal law and FAA policy.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. However, as of July 2017, FAA has provided partial documentation, but has not yet provided GAO with sufficient evidence to validate FAA's actions to establish a mechanism to ensure that all contractor staff complete annual security awareness training as required by federal law and FAA policy. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to establish a mechanism to ensure that all staff with significant security responsibilities receive appropriate role-based training.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA has provided partial documentation, but has not yet provided GAO sufficient evidence necessary to validate FAA's actions to establish a mechanism to ensure that all staff with significant security responsibilities receive appropriate role-based training. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to establish a mechanism to ensure that personnel with incident response roles and responsibilities take appropriate training, and that training records are retained.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA has provided partial documentation, but has not yet provided GAO sufficient evidence necessary to validate FAA's actions to establish a mechanism to ensure that personnel with incident response roles and responsibilities take appropriate training, and that training records are retained. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to take steps to ensure that testing of security controls is comprehensive enough to determine whether security controls are in place and operating effectively, by, for example, examining artifacts such as audit reports, change tickets, and approval documents.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA has updated its NAS testing policy and has provided evidence indicating that it has made progress toward ensuring that testing of security controls is comprehensive enough to determine whether security controls are in place and operating effectively. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence showing that its corrective actions have been fully implemented, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to take steps to ensure that identified corrective actions for security weaknesses are implemented within prescribed timeframes.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA has updated its NAS Remediation Management Plan to include new risk management processes for identified security weaknesses. However, it has not yet provided GAO sufficient evidence necessary to show that the agency has taken steps to ensure that identified corrective actions for security weaknesses are implemented within prescribed timeframes. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to provide NAS Cyber Operations (NCO) with full network packet capture capability for analyzing network traffic and detecting anomalies at major network interface points at FAA operational facilities.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation and stated that it planned to implement it by May 2018. As of July 2017, FAA has not provided GAO with documentation of the agency's actions to provide NCO with full network packet capture capability for analyzing network traffic and detecting anomalies at major network interface points at FAA operational facilities. Subsequent to FAA informing us that it has implemented the recommendation, we plan to validate its actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to integrate network traffic flow data into NCO's ad-hoc query systems.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation and stated that it planned to implement it by May 2018. As of July 2017, FAA has not provided GAO with documentation of the agency's actions to integrate network traffic flow data into NCO's ad-hoc query systems. Subsequent to FAA informing us that it has implemented the recommendation, we plan to validate its actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to provide NCO with access to network sensors on key network gateways for reviewing intrusion detection, network traffic, and network session data.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation and stated that it planned to implement it by December 2018. As of July 2017, FAA had developed a coordinated procedure with the FTI Security Operations Center to provide packet capture information from network sensors based on identified incidents. However, it has not provided GAO with sufficient documentation to demonstrate that the procedure has been implemented. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate its actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to ensure that NAS incident response capabilities are adequately tested, and that test results are sufficiently documented.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA provided evidence that it has taken steps to ensure that NAS incident response capabilities are adequately tested, and that test results are sufficiently documented. However, it has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has fully implemented its corrective actions. Subsequent to FAA providing sufficient evidence, we plan to validate its actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to ensure that contingency plans for NAS systems are sufficiently documented, and that tests of contingency plans address key elements of the contingency plans, including notification procedures, recovering the system on an alternate platform, and system performance on alternate equipment.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation and stated that it plans to implement the recommendation by September 2017. As of July 2017, FAA has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has taken sufficient action to ensure that contingency plans for NAS systems are sufficiently documented and that tests of the plans address key plan elements. Subsequent to FAA providing additional evidence, we plan to validate its actions.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to provide NCO with security event log data for all Internet Protocol (IP)-connected NAS systems.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation and stated that it planned to implement it by December 2018. As of August 2017, FAA has provided GAO with its planned actions to provide NCO with security event log data for all IP-connected NAS systems, which indicate that the agency still plans to complete its actions by December 2018. We plan to validate these actions subsequent to FAA informing us that it has completed them.
    Recommendation: To fully implement its information security program and ensure that unnecessary risks to the security of NAS systems are mitigated, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to finalize the incident response policy for the Air Traffic Organization and ensure that NAS system-level incident response policies specify incident reporting timeframes and the need for all incidents to be reported in accordance with FAA guidance.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2017, FAA has finalized the incident response policy for the Air Traffic Organization and updated one system-level incident response policy to specify incident reporting timeframes and the need for all incidents to be reported. However, it has not yet provided sufficient evidence showing that all system-level incident response policies specify reporting timeframes and the need for all incidents to be reported. Subsequent to FAA providing evidence that it has updated the remaining system-level incident response policies, we plan to validate FAA's actions.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To effectively implement key components of the IRS information security program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should update access request policies and procedures to ensure that they contain sufficiently detailed information of access requests and access assignments to facilitate effective review and verification of appropriate access privileges.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: At the beginning of GAO's audit of IRS' FY 2017 financial statements, IRS indicated that it had not yet implemented this recommendation. When IRS indicates that it has implemented this recommendation, we will review its actions.