Without proper safeguards, federal computer systems are vulnerable to intrusions by individuals who have malicious intentions and can obtain sensitive information. The need for a vigilant approach to information security has been demonstrated by the pervasive and sustained cyber attacks against the United States; these attacks continue to pose a potentially devastating impact to systems as well as the operations and critical infrastructures that they support. Concerned by reports of weaknesses in federal systems, Congress passed the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), which authorized and strengthened information security program, evaluation, and annual reporting requirements for federal agencies. GAO was asked to testify on federal information security and agency efforts to comply with FISMA. This testimony summarizes (1) federal agencies' efforts to secure information systems and (2) opportunities to enhance federal cybersecurity. To prepare for this testimony, GAO analyzed its prior reports and those from 24 major federal agencies, their inspectors general, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
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