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    Results:

    Subject Term: "Cyber security"

    9 publications with a total of 52 open recommendations including 9 priority recommendations
    Director: Kirschbaum, Joseph W
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other appropriate DOD components, should update the department's cyber incident coordination training to incorporate the tenets of PPD-41.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should maintain a list of senior DOD officials from organizations that could represent DOD during a Cyber Unified Coordination Group and that are trained in the National Incident Management System.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    17 open recommendations
    including 7 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should update security assessment plans for selected systems to ensure they include the test procedures to be performed.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA concurred with the recommendation. The agency has implemented a system to support updates of security assessment plans that include the test procedures to be performed. NASA needs to provide evidence of these results for the security assessment plans of two selected high-impact systems.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should re-evaluate security control assessments for selected systems to ensure that they comprehensively test technical controls.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA concurred with the recommendation. The agency needs to complete a re-evaluation of the security control assessments it has performed for the selected systems and take steps to ensure that such assessments include a comprehensive test of technical controls.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should update remedial action plans for selected systems, to include responsible organization, estimated funding, source of funding, and updated milestones and completion dates.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA concurred with the recommendation. The agency has implemented a system that generates plans of actions and milestones, but has not yet provided sufficient examples of remedial action plans for the selected systems. NASA needs to provide for these systems examples of plans of actions and milestones that include responsible organizations, estimated funding, source of funding, and updated milestones and completion dates.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration should update the continuous monitoring strategy to include metrics, ongoing status monitoring of metrics, and reporting of security status.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: NASA concurred with the recommendation. NASA has issued an updated continuous monitoring strategy, but this strategy does not clearly identify specific metrics to be used. NASA needs to specify metrics it will use as part of its continuous monitoring efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should re-evaluate security control assessments to ensure that they comprehensively test technical controls.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: NRC concurred with our recommendation. NRC supplied documents regarding its cybersecurity assessment process, but has not yet provided evidence of re-evaluating assessments to ensure that technical controls were comprehensively tested.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should update remedial action plans for selected systems, to include responsible organization, estimated funding, funding source, and scheduled completion dates.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: NRC concurred with our recommendation. The agency provided evidence that it is including the responsible organization and scheduled completion dates in its plans of action and milestones (POA&Ms). While the estimated funding and source of funding do not appear in the POA&Ms, the agency has indicated that this data is available elsewhere. We are following up with NRC to verify this information.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should update the standard that addresses continuous monitoring to include metrics and ongoing status monitoring.

    Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: NRC concurred with our recommendation. The agency expects to publish a revised computer security standard in 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management should update security plans for selected systems to ensure that all controls specific to high-impact systems are addressed, including a rationale if the control is not implemented, and where other plans are cross-referenced, ensure that the other system's plan appropriately addresses the control.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OPM concurred with our recommendation. The agency intends to migrate security plans to an automated system in order to improve management of security controls. OPM expects to complete this action in fiscal year 2018.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management should provide and track specialized training for all individuals, including contractors, who have significant security responsibilities.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OPM partially concurred with our recommendation. OPM is in the process of reviewing its procedures for identifying employees and contractors who directly access its information systems and reviewing the training requirements for those individuals, as well as specialized training requirements, and how compliance is tracked.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management should re-evaluate security control assessments to ensure that they comprehensively test technical controls.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OPM did not concur with our recommendation. OPM is developing additional standards for evaluating technical-controls testing and will incorporate these standards into its oversight of security assessments, once the standards are complete. Subsequent to OPM informing us that it has re-evaluated tests of technical controls, we plan to verify the agency's actions.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management should update remedial action plans for selected systems, to include source of funding and updated completion dates.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: OPM concurred with our recommendation. OPM is in the process of migrating POA&Ms to a new automated system that will allow the source of funding to be included in plans of action and milestones.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans should update security plans for selected systems to ensure that all controls specific to high-impact systems are addressed, including a rationale if the control is not implemented.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. VA stated that all high-impact security controls have been addressed, and the agency expects to include all controls in one plan. Subsequent to the agency informing us that it has implemented the recommendation, we plan to verify its actions.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans should provide and track specialized training for all individuals who have significant security responsibilities.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. VA provided limited evidence that it is tracking specialized training for staff who have significant security responsibilities. GAO plans to request further documentation and verify the completeness of VA's actions.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans should conduct security control assessments for the two selected systems and ensure the procedures comprehensively test technical controls.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. VA has assessed technical controls, but has not yet provided evidence of re-evaluating assessments to ensure that technical controls are comprehensively tested.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans should update remedial action plans for selected systems, to include estimated funding and funding source.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. VA provided limited evidence that it is including more information in its remedial action plans for selected systems, but did not demonstrate that it is including estimated funding and funding sources in these plans.
    Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans should develop a continuous monitoring strategy that addresses organization-defined metrics, frequency of monitoring metrics, ongoing status monitoring of metrics, and reporting of security status.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. VA is developing a new framework to address the people, processes, technology, and performance monitoring mechanisms identified in the Information Security Continuous Monitoring (ISCM) Maturity Model. This framework and supporting program plan are linked to the Department of Homeland Security Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) phase 1 deployment. VA's ISCM program plan and framework have been delayed to accommodate these changes.
    Recommendation: To improve security over federal systems, including those considered to be high impact, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should issue plan and practices specified in the Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: OMB concurred with our recommendation. On December 9, 2016, OMB issued memorandum M-17-09, Management of Federal High Value Assets, which lists some existing policies and guidance and other actions that agencies need to take to protect IT assets. Further information is needed to validate implementation of the recommendation.
    Director: Joseph W. Kirschbaum
    Phone: (202) 512-9971

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD's planning and processes for supporting civil authorities in a cyber incident, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to issue or update guidance that clarifies roles and responsibilities for relevant entities and officials--including the DOD components, supported and supporting commands, and dual-status commander--to support civil authorities as needed in a cyber incident.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Defense concurred with the recommendation and indicated that, in response, it would update existing agency guidance (e.g., doctrine, directives, instructions) or develop new guidance as appropriate. In June 2017, DOD issued supplementary policy guidance that assigns responsibilities and details procedures for providing defense support to cyber incident response. Although DOD took part of the recommended action, our review of DOD's updated guidance shows that the supported and supporting commands have not been identified and the role of the dual-status commander is still not clearly defined. Until DOD clarifies the roles and responsibilities of its key entities for cyber incidents, as we recommended, DOD will continue to experience uncertainty about the roles and responsibilities of different DOD components and commands with regard to providing support to civil authorities in the event of a significant cyber incident.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct Network Security Deployment (NSD) to determine the feasibility of enhancing NCPS's current intrusion detection approach to include functionality that would detect deviations from normal network behavior baselines.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: March 2018 Update: In Jan. 2018, DHS officials stated that they have continued pilot activities that will enable DHS to identify suspicious network activity based on anomalous behavior and reputation and have collected lessons learned that are being tracked by the department's National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS) Program Management Office. Officials added that DHS had identified a contractor to support the transition of the pilot, awarded a contract, and had begun system engineering, design, and development efforts under the contract. However, the department did not have an estimated date on the completion of a draft plan for how the transition would be implemented. We will continue to monitor DHS's progress in addressing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct NSD to determine the feasibility of developing enhancements to current intrusion detection capabilities to facilitate the scanning of traffic not currently scanned by NCPS.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: March 2018 update: In Jan. 2018, DHS officials stated that all Internet Service Providers (ISP) are currently scheduled to have solutions implemented by the third quarter of fiscal year 2018. Officials added that DHS is performing research to determine potential architectural, technical, and policy mitigation strategies that could provide the department with encrypted traffic protection and situational awareness. We will continue to monitor DHS's progress in addressing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct US-CERT to consider the viability of using vulnerability information, such as data from the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program as it becomes available, as an input into the development and management of intrusion detection signatures.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: March 2018 update: In Jan. 2018, DHS officials stated that enhancements were made so that Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program (CDM) data can be viewed with the Cyber Indicators Analysis Program (CIAP). Officials stated that the CDM data now may be combined with known vulnerability findings from the department's National Cybersecurity Assessments and Technical Services (NCATS) team and known threats collected from the CIAP system to further prioritize signature development as necessary. DHS officials stated that they are waiting for CDM data to become available so the applicability of the data can be determined.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct US-CERT to develop a timetable for finalizing the incident notification process, to ensure that customer agencies are being sent notifications of potential incidents, which clearly solicit feedback on the usefulness and timeliness of the notification.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: March 2018 Update: In Jan. 2018, DHS officials stated that the department's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) had started an alternative analysis process to review potential technologies on the market and anticipated having a final report by May 2018. The NCCIC is also undergoing a business process improvement effort to analyze its current incident management process. DHS officials further stated that NCCIC is planning to field a single platform that will consolidate legacy business and mission applications to support cross functional collaboration and leadership visibility.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications to develop metrics that clearly measure the effectiveness of NCPS's efforts, including the quality, efficiency, and accuracy of supporting actions related to detecting and preventing intrusions, providing analytic services, and sharing cyber-related information.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: March 2018 update: In Jan. 2018, DHS officials stated that the Office of Cyber Security and Communications (CS&C) will begin reporting on a new Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) measure that is focused on the extent to which the department's National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS) intrusion detection and prevention capabilities detect or prevent nation state threat activity. The new measure is also included as a supporting measure in a new Agency Priority Goal for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, which focuses on federal cybersecurity outcomes. This recommendation will remain open until we are able to review the developed metrics and the subsequent data they are to measure.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications to develop clearly defined requirements for detecting threats on agency internal networks and at cloud service providers to help better ensure effective support of information security activities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: March 2018 update: DHS has provided GAO with documentation pertaining to this recommendation. We are in the process of evaluating the evidence submitted to determine whether it adequately addresses the recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct NSD to develop processes and procedures for using vulnerability information, such as data from the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program as it becomes available, to help ensure DHS is using a risk-based approach for the selection/development of future NCPS intrusion prevention capabilities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: March 2018 update: In Jan. 2018, DHS officials stated that the Network Security Deployment (NSD) is continuing to enhance the data correlation model of the department's National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS) and the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program and that work is expected to continue as additional federal agencies begin to exchange information with the CDM Federal Dashboard in the second quarter of fiscal year 2018. DHS officials further stated that as more data becomes available from the CDM program, the data correlation model will continue to be reviewed and enhanced. In order to close this recommendation, we would need to review this model and determine how, if at all, the vulnerability information was used as part of a risk-based approach to intrusion prevention.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security should direct NSD to work with their customer agencies and the Internet service providers to document secure routing requirements in order to better ensure the complete, safe, and effective routing of information to NCPS sensors.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: March 2018 update: In Jan. 2018, DHS officials stated that the agency worked with the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration, and Office of American Innovations on an update to the Trusted Internet Connections Reference Architecture. The document, expected to be delivered in draft by June 2018, will address agency challenges with traffic routing and performance issues. This recommendation will remain open until we have been able to review the information.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better monitor and provide a basis for improving the effectiveness of cybersecurity risk mitigation activities, informed by the sectors' updated plans and in collaboration with sector stakeholders, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct responsible officials to develop performance metrics to provide data and determine how to overcome challenges to monitoring the chemical, commercial facilities, communications, critical manufacturing, dams, emergency services, information technology, and nuclear sectors' cybersecurity progress.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: DHS has released updated sector-specific plans for the chemical, commercial facilities, communications, critical manufacturing, dams, emergency services, information technology, and nuclear reactors sectors. The plans include a section on measuring effectiveness based on the plan development guidance. The plans provide expected metrics to track the progress of sector activities and state that the outcomes will be reported through the National Annual Reporting process as well as through the quadrennial plan update. Because the metrics are new and annual reporting has not yet occurred, DHS has not provided evidence of metrics data collected and reported to address the challenges. We will continue to follow-up to determine how performance measures have been implemented and what reporting is available based on those measures.
    Recommendation: To better monitor and provide a basis for improving the effectiveness of cybersecurity risk mitigation activities, informed by the sectors' updated plans and in collaboration with sector stakeholders, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct responsible officials to develop performance metrics to provide data and determine how to overcome challenges to monitoring the financial services sector's cybersecurity progress.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: The 2015 sector-specific plan for the financial services sector includes a section on measuring the effectiveness of sector activities; however, the plan does not include specific metrics. The plan refers to working groups and meetings of sector stakeholders as mechanisms to track sector progress. No specific metrics and associated reports of outcomes have been provided to address overcoming the challenges of monitoring the sector's cybersecurity progress. We will continue to monitor financial services sector activities and determine any specific metrics and related reports developed and implemented to track and report on the sector's cybersecurity progress.
    Recommendation: To better monitor and provide a basis for improving the effectiveness of cybersecurity risk mitigation activities, informed by the sectors' updated plans and in collaboration with sector stakeholders, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services (as co-SSAs) should direct responsible officials to develop performance metrics to provide data and determine how to overcome challenges to monitoring the food and agriculture sector's cybersecurity progress.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services released an update to the food and agriculture sector-specific plan for 2015. The plan states the sector's lack of an overarching mechanism to measure and evaluate risk mitigation activities and the challenge of obtaining performance measurement data from non-federal partners. However, the plan notes a goal of evaluating the progress of individual protective programs and strategies. No metrics or reports of outcomes have been provided to address the challenge of monitoring the sector's cybersecurity progress. We will continue to follow up to determine whether USDA and HHS have developed and implemented mechanisms to measure the outcomes of their sector cybersecurity-related activities.
    Recommendation: To better monitor and provide a basis for improving the effectiveness of cybersecurity risk mitigation activities, informed by the sectors' updated plans and in collaboration with sector stakeholders, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services (as co-SSAs) should direct responsible officials to develop performance metrics to provide data and determine how to overcome challenges to monitoring the food and agriculture sector's cybersecurity progress.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services released an update to the food and agriculture sector-specific plan for 2015. The plan states the sector's lack of an overarching mechanism to measure and evaluate risk mitigation activities and the challenge of obtaining performance measurement data from non-federal partners. However, the plan notes a goal of evaluating the progress of individual protective programs and strategies. No metrics or reports of outcomes have been provided to address the challenge of monitoring the sector's cybersecurity progress. We will continue to follow up to determine whether HHS has developed and implemented mechanisms to measure the outcomes of its sector cybersecurity-related activities.
    Recommendation: To better monitor and provide a basis for improving the effectiveness of cybersecurity risk mitigation activities, informed by the sectors' updated plans and in collaboration with sector stakeholders, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Transportation (as co-SSAs) should direct responsible officials to develop performance metrics to provide data and determine how to overcome challenges to monitoring the transportation systems sector's cybersecurity progress.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: The co-Sector-Specific Agencies (SSAs) for the Transportation Systems Sector, DHS (TSA and Coast Guard) and the Department of Transportation, provided an update on efforts to develop sector cybersecurity metrics. The update described measures under consideration such as tracking the number of sector stakeholders receiving cybersecurity products, monitoring the usefulness of products through satisfaction surveys, and tracking attendance at sector events and seminars encompassing cybersecurity. The co-SSAs plan to report sector cyber activities, progress, and relevant metrics annually through the Critical Infrastructure National Annual Report and through quadrennial updates to the sector-specific plan. The latest sector-specific plan was released in 2015. The proposed metrics have not been formalized in a strategy or plan. We will continue to monitor and evaluate efforts to formalize and implement the proposed metrics to determine whether they address the intent of the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better monitor and provide a basis for improving the effectiveness of cybersecurity risk mitigation activities, informed by the sectors' updated plans and in collaboration with sector stakeholders, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Transportation (as co-SSAs) should direct responsible officials to develop performance metrics to provide data and determine how to overcome challenges to monitoring the transportation systems sector's cybersecurity progress.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The co-Sector-Specific Agencies (SSAs) for the Transportation Systems Sector, DHS (TSA and Coast Guard) and the Department of Transportation, provided an update on efforts to develop sector cybersecurity metrics. The update described measures under consideration such as tracking the number of sector stakeholders receiving cybersecurity products, monitoring the usefulness of products through satisfaction surveys, and tracking attendance at sector events and seminars encompassing cybersecurity. The co-SSAs plan to report sector cyber activities, progress, and relevant metrics annually through the Critical Infrastructure National Annual Report and through quadrennial updates to the sector-specific plan. The latest sector-specific plan was released in 2015. The proposed metrics have not been formalized in a strategy or plan. We will continue to monitor and evaluate efforts to formalize and implement the proposed metrics to determine whether they address the intent of the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better monitor and provide a basis for improving the effectiveness of cybersecurity risk mitigation activities, informed by the sectors' updated plans and in collaboration with sector stakeholders, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should direct responsible officials to develop performance metrics to provide data and determine how to overcome challenges to monitoring the water and wastewater systems sector's cybersecurity progress.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The 2015 water and wastewater sector-specific plan includes a segment on measuring the effectiveness of sector activities that describes the overall principles for collecting data and using the National Annual Report data calls as a tool for assessing performance and reporting on progress within the sector. However, the plan does not state specific measures and the agency acknowledged in its response to our report that it does not collect performance metrics on the effectiveness of its cybersecurity programs for the sector. According to agency officials, the development of performance metrics in collaboration with sector partners is underway. We will continue to follow up to identify any specific metrics developed and implemented and resulting outcome-based reports.
    Director: Lawrance Evans
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that NCUA has adequate authority to determine the safety and soundness of credit unions, Congress should consider modifying the Federal Credit Union Act to grant NCUA authority to examine technology service providers of credit unions.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2015, we suggested that Congress modify the Federal Credit Union Act to grant NCUA authority to examine technology service providers of credit unions. As of April 2018, Congress had not granted NCUA this authority.
    Recommendation: To improve their ability to assess the adequacy of the information security practices at medium and small institutions, the heads of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and NCUA should routinely categorize IT examination findings and analyze this information to identify trends that can guide areas of review across institutions.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2015, we recommended that the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) and other federal financial institution regulators conduct trend analysis of their IT examination findings to improve their ability to assess the adequacy of information security practices at medium and small institutions. As of October 2016, the Board had not provided an update on its efforts to address this recommendation. In March 2018, we sought additional information on the status of efforts to implement this recommendation from agency officials and will update this status after we receive and review any new developments.
    Recommendation: To improve their ability to assess the adequacy of the information security practices at medium and small institutions, the heads of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and NCUA should routinely categorize IT examination findings and analyze this information to identify trends that can guide areas of review across institutions.

    Agency: National Credit Union Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2015, we recommended that the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and other federal financial institution regulators conduct trend analysis of their IT examination findings to improve their ability to assess the adequacy of information security practices at medium and small institutions. In April 2018, NCUA told us that it implemented an examination tool with a limited rollout in 2018. Specifically, NCUA developed the Automated Cybersecurity Examination Tool (ACET), which is fully aligned with the FFIEC's Cybersecurity Assessment Tool, and developed associated reference and support materials for staff. NCUA initiated work on ACET in late 2016 and completed initial release in August 2017. ACET was tested and refined in the 4th quarter of 2017 and deployed for initial implementation in all institutions with assets exceeding $1 billion for the 2018 examination cycle. Results from initial testing warranted further research and refinement for smaller institutions to improve the effectiveness of the examination summary. NCUA believes that the tool will allow them to more fully identify gaps and vulnerabilities. They have begun to collect and aggregate data from the pool of 2018 selected institutions. This work is helping NCUA refine the tool for full exam program integration in the 2019 examination cycle and, while it is still too early to draw conclusions from the initial data collection, NCUA is identifying common gaps which will inform future supervision plans. NCUA expects further refinements to ACET as they sample and test the examination protocol against small institutions during the second half of 2018. We will continue to monitor NCUA's progress with this program and revisit our recommendation in early 2019.
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of OMB streamlining efforts and ensure agency CIOs are better able to carry out their responsibilities in managing IT, including implementing OMB's IT reform initiatives, the Director of OMB should direct the Federal CIO, in collaboration with agency CIOs, to ensure there is a common understanding with agency CIOs on the priority of the current reporting requirements and related IT reform initiatives. This should include addressing underlying reasons cited by CIOs regarding the usefulness of requirements, including when department priorities are reportedly different than OMB's and the burdensome and duplicative nature of requirements.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) neither agreed or disagreed with our recommendation. Subsequently, OMB has taken steps to address some aspects of our recommendation. Specifically, in January 2017, OMB worked with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council to issue a report entitled "State of Federal Information Technology (SOFIT)" which outlined current IT trends and their key challenges, and made recommendations to improve implementation efforts. Notably, the report also identified differences in priorities between OMB and agency CIOs on key IT reform initiatives and the need for improved reporting requirements. In addition, in June 2017, OMB staff reported that they met the CIO and head of each agency this past spring regarding their priorities and challenges. While these are positive steps toward ensuring a common understanding of these initiatives and reporting requirements, OMB still needs to take action to address the underlying reasons for these differences in priorities and reduce burdensome and duplicative requirements. Until OMB takes action in these areas, there is a risk that key IT reform initiatives may not fully succeed. We will continue to evaluate OMB's progress in addressing our recommendation.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with GSA, should develop and implement a strategy to address cyber risk to building and access control systems that, among other things: (1) defines the problem; (2) identifies roles and responsibilities; (3) analyzes the resources needed; and (4) identifies a methodology for assessing this cyber risk.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions DHS has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    12 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of State should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, security and privacy requirements are communicated to contractors.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with our recommendation and is planning to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated, contractor-owned system. However, STATE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when STATE informs us that it has satisfactorily implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of State should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, an independent assessor is selected to assess the system.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with our recommendation and is planning to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated, contractor-owned system and that an independent assessor is selected to assess the system. However, STATE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when STATE informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of State should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, a system test is fully executed.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with our recommendation and is planning to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated, contractor-owned system and that a system test is fully executed. However, STATE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when STATE informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of State should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, test results are reviewed by agency officials.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with our recommendation and is planning to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated, contractor-owned system and that test results are reviewed by agency officials. However, STATE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when STATE informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of State should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, plans of action and milestones with estimated completion dates and resources assigned for resolution are maintained.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with our recommendation and is planning to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated, contractor-owned system and that plans of action and milestones with estimated completion dates and resources assigned for resolution are maintained. However, STATE has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when STATE informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of Transportation should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, a system test is fully executed.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on a draft of this report, the department agreed to consider our recommendations. We continue to believe that the department needs to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated system and that a system test is fully executed. The Department of Transportation (DOT), has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has taken these actions. We plan to validate the department's actions when DOT informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of Transportation should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, test results are reviewed by agency officials.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on a draft of this report, the department agreed to consider our recommendations. We continue to believe that the department needs to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated system and that test results are reviewed by agency officials. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has taken these actions. We plan to validate the department's actions when DOT informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Secretary of Transportation should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, plans of action and milestones with estimated completion dates and resources assigned to resolution are maintained.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on a draft of this report, the department agreed to consider our recommendations. We continue to believe that the department needs to develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for each contractor-operated system and that plans of action and milestones with estimated completion dates and resources assigned to resolution are maintained. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has taken these actions. We plan to validate the department's actions when DOT informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, a system test is fully executed.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concurred with our recommendation. However, EPA has not yet provided evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when EPA informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that, for each contractor-operated system, plans of action and milestones with estimated completion dates and resources assigned for resolution are maintained.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concurred with our recommendation. However, EPA has not yet provided evidence that it has implemented the recommendation. We plan to validate the department's actions when EPA informs us that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the privacy and security controls of contractor-operated systems are being properly overseen, the Director of the Office of Personnel Management should develop, document, and implement oversight procedures for ensuring that a system test is fully executed for each contractor-operated system.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) concurred with our recommendation. The agency has developed oversight procedures for system tests of contractor-operated systems. Subsequent to OPM informing us that it has implemented these procedures, we plan to verify the agency's actions.
    Recommendation: To be able to effectively assist agencies with their contractor oversight programs, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in collaboration with the Secretary of Homeland Security, should develop and clarify reporting guidance to agencies for annually reporting the number of contractor-operated systems.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: We requested comments on a draft of this report from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), but none were provided. In June 2017, OMB stated that its and the Department of Homeland Security's annual reporting requirements now contain an expanded list of criteria for contractor-operated systems, including definitions in related guidance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. However, although the reporting requirements call for agencies to report on their total number of contractor-operated systems, neither the requirements or related guidance clarify which agency systems that have contractor relationships should be categorized as contractor-operated. The lack of clear instructions may continue to result in incomplete information regarding the number of contractor-operated systems within the government. OMB has not provided sufficient evidence to close this recommendation.