FAS | Intelligence | GAO Reports |||| Index | Search | Join FAS


Information Security: Opportunities for Improved OMB Oversight of Agency Practices (Chapter Report, 09/24/96, GAO/AIMD-96-110).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided a general overview of
the adequacy of information security at 15 major federal agencies,
focusing on: (1) recent reviews and self-audits of information security
at these agencies; (2) the most significant information security
weaknesses and their causes; and (3) the Office of Management and
Budget's (OMB) oversight of federal agency practices and opportunities
for improvement.

GAO found that: (1) recent audits and reviews indicate that weak
information security is a serious governmentwide problem, with serious
weaknesses reported for over two-thirds of the agencies reviewed; (2)
commonly reported weaknesses include information access control problems
and inadequate disaster planning; (3) at half of the agencies reviewed,
information security problems remained uncorrected for 5 years or
longer; (4) many agencies lack a well-managed information security
program with senior management support; (5) although OMB has improved
federal information security guidance and its monitoring of agency
efforts to address identified weaknesses, the scope and depth of its
oversight efforts varies considerably among agencies; (6) information
that OMB obtains on federal information security programs varies
significantly in terms of the quality, quantity, and usefulness of the
information; (7) OMB could use expanded requirements under the Chief
Financial Officers Act to further monitor agencies information security
programs and weaknesses; and (8) the recently established Chief
Information Officers (CIO) Council can serve as a forum for addressing
governmentwide information security issues.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  AIMD-96-110
     TITLE:  Information Security: Opportunities for Improved OMB 
             Oversight of Agency Practices
      DATE:  09/24/96
   SUBJECT:  Computer security
             Data integrity
             Information systems
             Confidential communications
             Computer networks
             Financial statement audits
             Information resources management
IDENTIFIER:  OMB 2000
             
******************************************************************
** This file contains an ASCII representation of the text of a  **
** GAO report.  Delineations within the text indicating chapter **
** titles, headings, and bullets are preserved.  Major          **
** divisions and subdivisions of the text, such as Chapters,    **
** Sections, and Appendixes, are identified by double and       **
** single lines.  The numbers on the right end of these lines   **
** indicate the position of each of the subsections in the      **
** document outline.  These numbers do NOT correspond with the  **
** page numbers of the printed product.                         **
**                                                              **
** No attempt has been made to display graphic images, although **
** figure captions are reproduced.  Tables are included, but    **
** may not resemble those in the printed version.               **
**                                                              **
** Please see the PDF (Portable Document Format) file, when     **
** available, for a complete electronic file of the printed     **
** document's contents.                                         **
**                                                              **
** A printed copy of this report may be obtained from the GAO   **
** Document Distribution Center.  For further details, please   **
** send an e-mail message to:                                   **
**                                                              **
**                    <[email protected]>                        **
**                                                              **
** with the message 'info' in the body.                         **
******************************************************************


Cover
================================================================ COVER


Report to Congressional Requesters

September 1996

INFORMATION SECURITY -
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVED OMB
OVERSIGHT OF AGENCY PRACTICES

GAO/AIMD-96-110

Information Security

(511023)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  CFO - Chief Financial Officer
  CIO - Chief Information Officer
  FFELP - Federal Family Education Loan Program
  FMFIA - Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act
  HHS - Department of Health and Human Services
  IRS - Internal Revenue Service
  NIST - National Institute of Standards and Technology
  OIRA - Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
  OMB - Office of Management and Budget
  RMO - Resource Management Office
  VA - Department of Veterans Affairs

Letter
=============================================================== LETTER


B-272153

September 24, 1996

Congressional Requesters

Because of concern regarding the security of federal information
systems and the data they maintain, Senator John Glenn, Ranking
Minority Member, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, requested
that we begin to examine information security issues on a
governmentwide basis.  Subsequently, Senator Ted Stevens, Committee
Chairman, also expressed interest in these issues.  As an initial
step in response to these concerns, this report summarizes the
results of recent audits of information security at major federal
agencies.  It also describes the Office of Management and Budget's
oversight of federal agency practices regarding information security
and details recommendations for improvement. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Director of the Office of
Management and Budget, the heads of the 15 federal agencies covered
by our review, and other interested parties.  Copies will be provided
to others on request. 

If you have any questions about this report, please call Christopher
W.  Hoenig, Director, Information Management Resources/Policies and
Issues, on (202) 512-6208.  Other major contributors to this report
are listed in appendix II. 

Gene L.  Dodaro
Assistant Comptroller General


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
============================================================ Chapter 0


   PURPOSE
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:1

As federal agencies expand their reliance on automated and
interconnected information systems, they face an increasing challenge
to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of the
data they maintain.  Although they have relied on computers for
years, federal agencies, like businesses and other organizations
throughout the world, are experiencing an explosion in the growth of
electronic data and networked computer systems.  The Department of
Defense, alone, has a vast information infrastructure that includes
2.1 million computers, 10,000 local networks, and 100 long-distance
networks.  In addition, Defense uses the Internet, a global network
interconnecting thousands of computer networks, to exchange
electronic mail, log on to remote computer sites, and obtain files
from remote locations.  Civilian agencies are also increasingly
reliant on automated, often interconnected, systems, including the
Internet, to support their operations. 

These advances promise to streamline federal operations and improve
delivery of federal services.  However, they also increase the
potential risks that sensitive and critical information could be
inappropriately modified, disclosed, or destroyed, possibly resulting
in significant interruptions in service, monetary losses, and a loss
of confidence in the government's ability to protect confidential
data on individuals.  The potential risks are increasing because
automated systems and records are fast replacing manual procedures
and paper documents, which in many cases are no longer available as
"backup" if automated systems should fail.  These vulnerabilities are
exacerbated because, when systems are interconnected to form networks
or are accessible through public telecommunication systems, they are
much more vulnerable to anonymous intrusions from remote locations. 
Recent tests at the Department of Defense show that the number of
attacks on Defense systems is growing dramatically and that many
attacks are not detected. 

Much of the information maintained by federal agencies, although
unclassified, is extremely sensitive, and many automated operations
would be attractive targets for individuals or organizations with
malicious intentions, such as committing fraud for personal gain or
sabotaging federal operations.  Examples include law enforcement
information maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; import
entry information maintained by the Customs Service; taxpayer data;
commercial transactions; payroll, personnel, and health records;
defense operational plans; electronic benefit payment records; and
electronically submitted medicare claims. 

Fully understanding the ramifications of information security
weaknesses throughout the federal government has become an urgent
issue.  Without determining the extent of threats, vulnerabilities,
and agency capabilities to manage their security programs, our
government will remain ill-equipped to cope with significant new
security problems and take advantage of opportunities for improved
protection.  This report summarizes the results of GAO's review of
recent audits and self assessments at 15 major federal agencies to
identify reported information security weaknesses.  These 15 agencies
accounted for over 98 percent of all federal outlays during fiscal
year 1995.  The report also describes the Office of Management and
Budget's (OMB) oversight of federal agency practices regarding
information security and identifies opportunities for improved
oversight.  The review was performed as an initial step in responding
to requests from the former and current chairmen, Senate Committee on
Governmental Affairs, that GAO examine a range of federal information
security issues. 


   BACKGROUND
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:2

The need to protect sensitive and critical federal data has been
recognized for years in various laws, including the Privacy Act of
1974; the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, as amended; and the
Computer Security Act of 1987.  However, information security has
taken on new significance as both reliance on computers and
vulnerabilities associated with networked systems have increased. 
This is because the same techniques that agencies are employing to
help cut costs and improve service--interconnected systems, readily
accessible information, and paperless processing--are also factors
that increase the vulnerability of operations and data to
unauthorized modification and disclosure and to potentially
devastating interruptions in service.  Agency managers have the
primary responsibility for ensuring the security of their information
resources, and they are in the best position to assess the risks
associated with their programs and to develop and implement policies
to mitigate these risks.  However, since enactment of the original
Paperwork Reduction Act in 1980, OMB has been responsible for
developing governmentwide guidance on information security and
overseeing agency practices.  Because of the breadth, significance,
and complexity of this oversight challenge, it is important that OMB
develop all possible strategies and assets--especially processes,
staff expertise, and relevant information--to support its relatively
small staff in fulfilling this responsibility. 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:3

Audit reports and agency self assessments issued since September 1994
show that weak information security is a widespread problem that puts
billions of dollars of federal assets at risk of theft, misuse, or
loss, and threatens vast amounts of sensitive data, including
personal data on individuals, with unauthorized disclosure.  In
addition to losses and inappropriate disclosures, weaknesses such as
poor controls over access to data and inadequate disaster recovery
plans diminish the reliability of the enormous amounts of
electronically maintained information essential for delivering
federal services, assessing the success of federal programs, and
monitoring agency performance.  An underlying cause is that agencies
have not implemented information security programs that establish
appropriate policies and controls and routinely monitor their
effectiveness. 

During the period in which these weaknesses were reported, OMB took
steps to develop and improve federal guidance pertaining to
information security.  It also monitored, on an exception basis,
agency efforts to address recognized major information security
problems or potential problems affecting individual agency programs
and systems.  However, OMB's oversight efforts were uneven, and OMB
generally did not proactively attempt to identify and promote
resolution of fundamental security program weaknesses that are likely
to be at the root of these problems.  Identifying and correcting such
weaknesses are essential elements in ensuring that agency policies
and related management and technical controls are effectively
implemented on a continuing basis. 

OMB can improve its oversight effectiveness by taking advantage of
the increasing amount of audit information on information security
that is becoming routinely available as a by-product of agency
financial statement audits required under the Chief Financial
Officers (CFO) Act.  Although these audits pertain primarily to
financial systems, they are the only independent assessments of
information security available at most major agencies on an annual
basis.  OMB can use this audit information, in conjunction with the
results of agency self assessments, to evaluate the scope and
adequacy of information security reviews at individual agencies and
to monitor progress in correcting identified problems.  Also, the
recently established Chief Information Officers' (CIO) Council, which
will be chaired by OMB, can serve as a mechanism for strategically
addressing information security on a governmentwide basis.  However,
it is important that OMB develop better sources of information and
staff expertise for proactively and systematically overseeing the
overall design and effectiveness of agency information security
programs. 


   PRINCIPAL FINDINGS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4


      INFORMATION SECURITY
      WEAKNESSES ARE WIDESPREAD
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.1

Over the past 4 years, GAO has issued over 30 reports describing
serious information security problems at major federal agencies, and
agency inspectors general have issued numerous others.  Our analysis
of the most recent of these reports for the 15 largest federal
agencies found that 10 agencies had serious information security
weaknesses, some of which have existed for years.  Material
weaknesses were not reported for the other five agencies.  However,
independent reviews of computer-related controls at three of these
five agencies were either not performed or were very limited. 

The most common problems reported were (1) poor controls over access
to sensitive and critical data and (2) incomplete and untested
disaster recovery plans--weaknesses that essentially preclude an
agency from reasonably ensuring the integrity, confidentiality, and
availability of critical and sensitive computerized data, such as
taxpayer information and federal financial records.  Examples include
the following: 

  -- Estimates by the Department of Defense indicate that attacks on
     unclassified computer systems and networks are a serious and
     growing threat to our national security, including Defense's
     ability to execute military operations and protect sensitive
     information.  Defense data indicate that Defense may have
     experienced as many as 250,000 attacks in 1995 and that the
     number of attacks is doubling each year.  Successful attacks by
     outside intruders have shut down systems and corrupted sensitive
     data.  However, estimates based on tests conducted since 1992
     showed that less than 1 percent of attacks on Defense's systems
     were detected and reported.  Although no summary costs have been
     developed, Defense officials estimate that the cost of such
     incidents is at least tens of millions of dollars per year. 

  -- Annual audits since 1993 have found that due to poor computer
     controls, IRS cannot ensure that the confidentiality and
     accuracy of taxpayer data are protected and that the data are
     not manipulated for purposes of individual gain.  Specifically,
     (1) controls have not prevented users from unauthorized access
     to sensitive programs and data files, (2) numerous users have
     been allowed powerful access privileges that could allow
     circumvention of existing controls, and (3) security reports
     used to monitor and identify unauthorized access to the system
     are cumbersome and virtually useless to managers for monitoring
     activity. 

  -- In March 1995, the Office of Personnel Management Inspector
     General reported that federal retirement program assets were
     "highly vulnerable to loss or misuse" because of electronic data
     processing weaknesses, primarily excessively broad user access
     privileges, related to systems that maintained 2.1 million
     annuitant files and generated $36 billion in benefit payments
     during fiscal year 1994. 

Individual audit reports describe varying causes for specific
weaknesses at individual agencies.  However, our audits have shown
that an underlying factor is poorly managed security programs that do
not proactively and systematically assess risk, monitor the
effectiveness of security controls, and respond to identified
problems.  Such programs are essential to ensure that management and
technical controls, including actions to correct identified
weaknesses, are effective on a continuing basis. 


      CENTRAL POLICY HAS BEEN
      UPDATED
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.2

As part of its various efforts to explore and develop policies
associated with a range of information security issues, in February
1996, OMB issued a revised version of its central guidance to
agencies on developing an effective information security program. 
Like the previous version, issued in 1985, the revised Circular
A-130, Appendix III, "Security of Federal Automated Information
Resources," establishes a minimum set of management controls that are
to be included in federal automated information security programs. 
These include assigning responsibility for security, developing a
system security plan, screening and training individual users,
assessing risk, planning for disasters and contingencies, and
reviewing security safeguards at least every 3 years.  However,
unlike the previous version, the revised appendix recognizes that all
federal computer systems require some level of protection, not just
systems judged to be "sensitive." It also requires agencies to
clearly define responsibilities and expected behavior for all
individuals with access to automated systems and to implement
security incident response and reporting capabilities.  OMB worked
extensively with the National Institute of Standards and Technology,
agency security managers, and others to develop the revised Appendix
III.  Written comments submitted by numerous organizations and
individuals and the remarks of agency officials that GAO interviewed
indicate that the revised guidance is generally considered to be a
valuable and necessary update that recognizes the increasingly open
and interconnected computer systems that support agency operations. 


      MONITORING OF AGENCY
      PRACTICES HAS BEEN UNEVEN
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.3

Comprehensive oversight requires independently identifying management
issues, focusing attention on these issues, and ensuring appropriate
resolution of identified problems.  Policy analysts in OMB's Office
of Information and Regulatory Affairs and program examiners in OMB's
Resource Management Offices have monitored selected security issues
at individual agencies.  However, the scope and depth of efforts
intended to uncover critical information security issues vary among
agencies, and these efforts are often reactive.  GAO met with OMB
program examiners for 11 agencies.  Of these, examiners for eight
agencies essentially reacted to recognized problems, saying that they
had little expertise regarding information resource management and
related security issues.  They said that they only considered
security when it was raised as a significant issue by agency managers
or auditors and, then, usually as it pertained to a specific program
or system.  Examiners for two other agencies had taken a somewhat
more proactive look at the agencies' automated operations, including
security; while the examiner for the remaining agency said that
program examiners almost never considered systems-related issues,
including security, as part of their examinations. 

As for focusing on management issues, although OMB's revision of
Circular A-130 focused general attention on the importance of
information security programs, OMB has not systematically monitored
compliance with its guidance or the effectiveness of security
programs at individual agencies, even though problems in several
agencies have been reported for years.  While analysts in OMB's
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs have gained a high-level
understanding of agency programs through informal discussions with
agency personnel, most program examiners, who usually obtain more
detailed information about individual agency operations, generally do
not consider the effectiveness of an agency's overall information
security program. 


      INFORMATION FOR OVERSIGHT IS
      LIMITED
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.4

OMB obtains little documented information to help it proactively
oversee agency information security programs.  It has routinely
obtained agency annual internal control assessments required under
the Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act and Strategic
Information Resource Management Plans.  However, these documents vary
significantly in level of detail regarding security issues and are
often of little value for overseeing security practices.  OMB
generally does not obtain the more detailed self assessments of
information security that agencies should be using as the basis for
these summaries. 

OMB program examiners cited independent audit reports as one of their
most useful sources of information because they provided an
independent assessment of agency operations.  However, in the past,
independent audits of computer security have not routinely been
performed for all major agencies.  Audits performed under the CFO Act
of 1990 promise to make such independent audit information more
routinely available because, in practice, such audits generally
include evaluating and testing controls over information security. 
In the early 1990s, selected segments of federal operations became
subject to annual financial statement audits under the Act, and in
1994, this audit requirement was extended to all major federal
entities by the Government Management Reform Act.  As a result, the
percentage of federal expenditures that is audited has been steadily
growing, and is expected to reach 98 percent by fiscal year 1997. 

However, significant aspects of some agencies' operations, such as
those involving sensitive medical records, are not likely to be
covered by financial statement audits.  For this reason, it is
important for OMB, as well as agency managers, to coordinate their
reviews of CFO Act audit reports and their reviews of other types of
information security assessments, such as self assessments.  When
viewed together, these audits and assessments may provide a more
comprehensive view of agency information security and allow OMB and
agency officials to identify gaps in review coverage. 


      CIO COUNCIL AND FINANCIAL
      AUDIT REPORTS OFFER
      OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVED
      OVERSIGHT
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.5

In light of the growing significance of information security and the
widespread reported weaknesses, it is essential that OMB take
advantage of all opportunities to leverage its resources and take
advantage of available information.  In this regard, OMB can analyze
the increasing amount of audit information that is becoming available
due to recently expanded requirements for annual financial statement
audits of federal agencies, under the CFO Act.  Although CFO Act
audits pertain primarily to financial management systems, OMB's
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and Office of Federal
Financial Management could use them, in conjunction with agency self
assessments, to determine if all key systems had been reviewed at an
individual agency and to monitor actions to correct reported
information security problems. 

Also, the recently established CIO Council can serve as a forum for
addressing governmentwide information security issues, raising
security awareness, and developing a strategic approach to better
understanding the security problems facing federal agencies and
improving federal information security programs.  The Council,
established in July 1996 through Executive Order, is intended to be
"the principal interagency forum to improve agency practices on such
matters as the design, modernization, use, sharing, and performance
of agency information resources." It is chaired by OMB's Deputy
Director for Management, and its membership includes CIOs at all
major federal agencies. 


   RECOMMENDATIONS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5

To enhance OMB's ability to oversee and improve federal information
security programs, GAO is making the following recommendations to the
Director of OMB: 

  -- Advocate and promote the CIO Council's adoption of information
     security as one of its top priorities and development of a
     strategic plan for (1) increasing awareness of the importance of
     information security, especially among senior agency executives,
     and (2) improving information security program management
     governmentwide.  Initiatives that the CIO Council should
     consider incorporating in its strategic plan include

developing information on the existing security risks associated with
nonclassified systems currently in use;

developing information on the risks associated with evolving
practices, such as Internet use;

identifying best practices regarding information security programs so
that they can be adopted by federal agencies;

establishing a program for reviewing the adequacy of individual
agency information security programs using interagency teams of
reviewers;

ensuring adequate review coverage of agency information security
practices by considering the scope of various types of audits and
reviews performed and acting to address any identified gaps in
coverage;

developing or identifying training and certification programs that
can be shared among agencies; and

identifying proven security tools and techniques. 

  -- Direct the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the
     Office of Federal Financial Management, and the Resource
     Management Offices to (1) supplement their current reviews of
     audit reports to include reviewing audits conducted under the
     CFO Act in order to identify any findings related to information
     security and (2) use this information, in conjunction with
     reports on agency self assessments, to assist in proactively
     monitoring the scope of such reviews and the effectiveness of
     agency information security practices. 

  -- Encourage the development of improved sources of information
     with which to monitor compliance with OMB's guidance and the
     effectiveness of agency information security programs.  This
     could include engaging assistance from private contractors or
     others with appropriate expertise, such as federally funded
     research and development centers. 

  -- Direct the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to
     develop and implement a program for increasing program
     examiners' understanding of information security management
     issues so that they can more readily identify and understand the
     implications of information security weaknesses on agency
     programs. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR
   EVALUATION
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:6

In written comments on a draft of this report, OMB agreed that
information security is an important management issue and stated that
certain of the report's recommendations are meritorious.  In
particular, OMB said that it will encourage the CIO Council to adopt
information security as one of its top priorities and that it will
review (1) the training and related materials provided to program
examiners and (2) the availability of improved sources of
information.  However, OMB disagreed with the report's tone, which it
characterized as suggesting "that OMB has not been dedicating
sufficient resources in the past to overseeing the agencies'
information security activities, and that therefore OMB in the future
should dedicate more of its resources to this objective." In
addition, OMB stated its concern that the report overemphasizes OMB's
role and that this could distract federal agencies from their
responsibilities as the primary managers of federal information
security. 

GAO agrees that agency managers are primarily responsible for
information security.  GAO's audit efforts related to information
security over the past few years have focused almost exclusively on
individual agency practices, and it has made dozens of related
recommendations to agency officials.  Thirty products resulting from
this work and containing these recommendations are listed at the end
of this report.  The results of this work led GAO to identify a
pattern of governmentwide information security weaknesses. 

In light of the pattern of weaknesses that GAO has identified and the
increasing importance of information security in virtually every
aspect of federal operations, OMB has a vital leadership role to play
in promoting and overseeing agency security practices.  This role was
recently reemphasized in the Information Technology Management Reform
Act of 1996 and in revisions to the Paperwork Reduction Act, which
together explicitly outline OMB's responsibilities for overseeing
agency practices regarding information privacy and security. 
Information security has become a consideration in the management of
virtually every major federal program and in billions of dollars in
annual information technology investment decisions.  For these
reasons, GAO believes that information security, as well as other
information management issues, merits a high priority relative to
other budget and management issues. 

In this regard, GAO's recommendations are focused primarily not on
increasing the amount of OMB resources but on increasing the impact
of OMB's current resources by taking advantage of newly available
audit information, discussed in chapter 4, and by expanding staff
expertise.  These actions, at a minimum, are needed to help address
growing concerns over the adequacy of federal information security. 
GAO also believes that periodic oversight reviews of agency
information security programs would be beneficial but that such
reviews could be performed by interagency teams under the auspices of
the OMB-chaired CIO Council, as suggested in chapter 4. 


INTRODUCTION
============================================================ Chapter 1

As federal agencies expand their use of information technology, they
face an increasing challenge to protect the integrity,
confidentiality, and availability of information that is vital to
their missions.  Like the nation as a whole, our government is
becoming increasingly dependent on widely interconnected computer
systems and the electronic data they maintain.  These systems and
data are essential to carry out critical operations, such as tax
collections; safeguard billions of dollars in assets, such as
military equipment and accounts receivable; and deliver basic
services, such as social security payments and other benefits. 
Reliance on these systems and on electronic data is revolutionizing
the way that agencies collect, process, store, and disseminate
information.  However, without effective controls, such reliance also
can increase the risks of financial loss, unauthorized access to
sensitive information, and devastating interruptions in service. 

To provide a governmentwide overview, this report summarizes the
results of our reviews of information security at individual agencies
and of similar assessments performed by others.  The report also
describes OMB's oversight of federal agency practices regarding
information security and identifies opportunities for improvement. 
We performed this review in response to a request from Senator John
Glenn, Ranking Minority Member, Senate Committee on Governmental
Affairs, that we examine a broad range of federal information
security issues.  Subsequently, Senator Ted Stevens, Committee
Chairman, also expressed interest in these issues. 


   INCREASED RELIANCE AND NEW
   VULNERABILITIES COMBINE TO
   UNDERSCORE IMPORTANCE OF
   ADEQUATE INFORMATION SECURITY
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:1

Information security is a growing concern because the federal
government, like the nation as a whole, is becoming increasingly
dependent on computerized information systems and electronic records. 
These systems and records are fast replacing manual procedures and
paper documents, which in many cases are no longer available as
"backup" if automated systems should fail.  The potential risks
associated with reliance on electronic systems and records are
exacerbated because more and more systems are being interconnected to
form networks or are accessible through public telecommunication
systems, making the systems themselves and the data they maintain
much more difficult to protect from unauthorized users or outside
intruders. 

All major agencies rely on computer systems to provide critical
support for their operations, and even greater reliance is planned
for the future.  In addition, agencies are increasing their use of
interconnected systems and electronically transmitted data in order
to streamline operations, make federally maintained data more
accessible, and reduce paperwork. 

Most notably, the Department of Defense has a vast information
infrastructure that includes 2.1 million computers, 10,000 local
networks, and 100 long-distance networks.  The majority of the
information maintained on Defense's computers is sensitive but
nonclassified data essential to daily operations, such as commercial
transactions; payroll, personnel, and health records; operational
plans; and weapons systems maintenance records.  In addition, Defense
uses the Internet, a global network interconnecting thousands of
computer networks, to exchange electronic mail, log on to remote
computer sites, and obtain files from remote locations. 

Civilian agencies are also increasingly reliant on interconnected
systems, including the Internet, and on electronic data.  The
following examples illustrate just a few of the ways that agencies
are expanding their use of information technology to support critical
operations. 

  -- Law enforcement officials throughout the United States and
     Canada rely on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National
     Crime Information Center computerized database for access to
     sensitive criminal justice records on individual offenders. 
     According to the Bureau's fiscal year 1997 budget submission,
     the system is available to 78,000 authorized users and processes
     an average of about 2 million transactions daily. 

  -- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which relies on computers to
     process and store millions of taxpayer records, views electronic
     filing of tax returns as fundamental to its future operations. 
     The number of individual income tax returns filed electronically
     increased from 4.2 million in 1990 to about 14.8 million for the
     first 3 and a half months of 1996.  IRS goals include
     significantly increasing the number of electronically filed
     returns and eventually eliminating paper returns for a large
     segment of filers. 

  -- The Customs Service relies on automated systems to process entry
     declarations, which totaled over 39 million in fiscal year 1994
     and led to payment of over $20 billion in duties.  Although many
     entry declarations are submitted as paper documents, a growing
     number are submitted electronically. 

  -- The Department of Agriculture is reducing the use of paper food
     stamp coupons through its electronic benefits transfer program. 
     Under the program, individual recipients' monthly benefits are
     recorded in a central computer file.  Individuals then use
     "credit card" type cards with secret personal identification
     numbers to draw on these benefits and pay for their groceries. 
     During fiscal year 1995, about 630,000 households participated
     in the electronic benefit transfer food stamp program. 
     According to the Federal Electronic Benefits Transfer Task
     Force, the program could potentially cover over 10 million
     households. 

  -- Medicare part B claims that were submitted and processed
     electronically jumped from 36 to 72 percent between 1990 and
     1994, and further increases are likely.  Medicare part B covers
     physician services, outpatient hospital care, medical supplies,
     and other health benefits, such as emergency ambulance service. 
     The program cost $60 billion in fiscal year 1994, and, according
     to OMB, costs are expected to double over the subsequent 7
     years. 

Unfortunately, the same factors that are so important to streamlining
federal operations--interconnected, often widely-dispersed systems;
readily accessible information; and paperless processing--are also
factors which increase the vulnerability of these operations and
data.  Specifically, the threats to agency systems and the potential
for harm have increased because

  -- the move to more interconnected systems has provided greater
     numbers of individuals access to extensive databases of
     information through widely distributed networks of computers;

  -- agencies are placing greater reliance on electronic records, in
     some cases eliminating paper records; and

  -- intruders, including criminals, are becoming more skilled at
     defeating security techniques designed to protect computer
     systems and electronic information. 

When systems are not adequately protected the potential for malicious
and criminal acts is enormous.  For example, by obtaining access to
data files, an individual could make unauthorized changes for
personal gain, such as diverting payments or reducing amounts owed on
debts.  Similarly, an individual could obtain sensitive information
about business transactions or individuals, which could then be sold
or used for malicious purposes.  By obtaining access to computer
programs, an individual could make unauthorized changes to these
programs, which in turn could be used to access data files or to
process unauthorized transactions, such as improper payments.  Also,
an intruder could eliminate evidence of unauthorized activity, thus,
significantly reducing the likelihood that such activity would ever
be detected. 

Further, in an inadequately protected network environment, an
agency's operations could be sabotaged from remote locations by
altering or destroying critical data and programs, or by introducing
malicious code, such as viruses, to damage or congest system
operations.  Significant damage could also occur as a result of
accidental errors and deletions by authorized users.  Regardless of
the individual user's intent, in today's high-speed, highly
automated, and interconnected computing environment, thousands of
transactions could be erroneously processed or enormous amounts of
data could be destroyed or disclosed before an agency detected the
damage. 

In addition to access control risks, computer facilities and
electronic media can be damaged or otherwise rendered unusable by
fires, floods, contamination, and other manmade and natural
disasters.  If an agency does not have adequate contingency plans and
preparations for such unexpected events, it may be forced to suspend
critical operations or it could lose data and software that are
difficult and costly, or even impossible, to replace. 


   RESPONSIBILITIES OUTLINED IN
   LAWS AND OMB GUIDANCE
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:2

The need to protect sensitive federal data maintained on automated
systems has been recognized for years in various laws and in federal
guidance.  The Privacy Act of 1974, as amended; the Paperwork
Reduction Act of 1980, as amended; and the Computer Security Act of
1987 all contain provisions requiring agencies to protect the
confidentiality and integrity of the sensitive information that they
maintain.  The Computer Security Act (Public Law 100-235) defines
sensitive information as "any information, the loss, misuse, or
unauthorized access to or modification of which could adversely
affect the national interest or the conduct of Federal programs, or
the privacy to which individuals are entitled under the Privacy Act,
but which has not been specifically authorized under criteria
established by an Executive Order or an Act of Congress to be kept
secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy."

The adequacy of controls over computerized data is also addressed
indirectly by the Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) of
1982 (31 U.S.C.  3512(b) and (c)) and the Chief Financial Officers
(CFO) Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-576).  FMFIA requires agency
managers to annually evaluate their internal control systems and
report to the President and the Congress any material weaknesses that
could lead to fraud, waste, and abuse in government operations.  The
CFO Act requires agency CFOs to develop and maintain financial
management systems that provide complete, reliable, consistent, and
timely information.  Under the act, major federal agencies annually
issue audited financial statements.  In practice, such audits
generally include evaluating and testing controls over information
security. 

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (Public Law
96-511), OMB is responsible for developing information security
policies and overseeing agency practices.  In this regard, OMB has
provided guidance for agencies in OMB Circular A-130, Appendix III,
"Security of Federal Automated Information Resources." Since 1985,
this circular has directed agencies to implement an adequate level of
security for all automated information systems that ensures (1)
effective and accurate operations and (2) continuity of operations
for systems that support critical agency functions.  The circular
establishes a minimum set of controls to be included in federal
agency information system security programs and requires agencies to
review system security at least every 3 years.  Responsibility for
developing technical standards and providing related guidance for
sensitive data belongs primarily to the National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST), under the Computer Security Act. 
OMB, NIST, and agency responsibilities regarding information security
were recently reemphasized in the Information Technology Management
Reform Act of 1996. 


   OBJECTIVES, SCOPE, AND
   METHODOLOGY
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:3

Our objectives were to (1) provide a general overview of the adequacy
of federal information security at major federal agencies based on
reported information, (2) identify and categorize the most
significant information security weaknesses reported, (3) identify
the general causes of reported weaknesses, and (4) assess OMB's
efforts to oversee agency information security practices.  To
accomplish these objectives we analyzed the results of our
evaluations of computer-related controls at five major agencies since
June 1993.  These agencies included the Internal Revenue Service and
the U.S.  Customs Service, which are both part of the Department of
the Treasury; the Department of Education; the Department of the
Army; and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  We
performed most of these assessments as part of our financial
statement audits at these agencies.  While such audits focus on the
security of the data supporting the financial statements, they
include evaluations and tests of general controls that affect a
significant segment of the agencies' computerized operations.  A list
of GAO reports and testimonies that address the adequacy of
information security at federal agencies is provided at the end of
this report. 

We supplemented reviews of our own audits with an analysis of 149
other reports on major federal agencies to determine if information
security weaknesses had been reported and, if so, what types of
weaknesses were reported.  The reports we reviewed resulted from
independent audits by agency inspectors general issued between
September 1992 through March 1996, and from agency self assessments
required under FMFIA for fiscal years 1994 and 1995.  The agencies
covered included the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Education,
Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development,
Justice, Labor, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs;
the General Services Administration; the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration; the Social Security Administration; and the
Office of Personnel Management.  Together, our analyses covered the
15 major departments and agencies that are responsible for spending
or safeguarding the largest amounts of federal resources.  In total,
these agencies accounted for over 98 percent of all federal outlays
during fiscal year 1995. 

We based our analyses almost exclusively on reported findings. 
Although we spoke with inspector general audit managers at several
agencies to clarify information that had been reported, we did not
assess the quality or completeness of any of the inspector general
audits or agency self assessments covered by our survey. 

To augment information included in reports on individual agencies, we
met with members of the steering committee of the Federal Computer
Security Managers Forum, an information-sharing group established by
NIST, and we reviewed various OMB and NIST documents, as well as
related laws. 

To obtain information on OMB's oversight efforts, we met with
officials from OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
(OIRA), Office of Federal Financial Management, and Resource
Management Office branches responsible for overseeing programs at 11
of the 15 agencies included in our review.  In addition, we met with
senior information resource management officials and security program
managers at five agencies to discuss their interactions with OMB and
other agencies responsible for providing guidance and assistance
regarding information security issues.  These five agencies are the
Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Treasury, and
Transportation and the Office of Personnel Management. 

Our review was performed in Washington, D.C., from July 1995 through
May 1996 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
standards.  We requested written comments on a draft of this report
from the Acting Director of OMB or his designee.  OMB's Deputy
Director for Management provided written comments on a draft of this
report.  These comments are discussed in the "Agency Comments and Our
Evaluation" section of chapter 5 and are reprinted in appendix I. 


AUDITS AND SELF ASSESSMENTS HAVE
IDENTIFIED SERIOUS WEAKNESSES THAT
INCREASE RISKS
============================================================ Chapter 2

Recent audits show that weak information security is a serious
governmentwide problem that is putting major federal operations at
risk.  Between September 1994 and April 30, 1996, serious weaknesses
were reported for two-thirds of the agencies covered by our review,
and for half of these agencies the weaknesses had been reported for
at least 5 years.  A fundamental cause of these weaknesses is that
agencies have not implemented security programs that provide a
systematic means of assessing risk, implementing effective policies
and control techniques, and monitoring the effectiveness of these
policies and techniques. 


   SIGNIFICANT WEAKNESSES HAVE
   BEEN REPORTED FOR MOST MAJOR
   FEDERAL AGENCIES
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:1

Of the 15 agencies included in our review, serious information
security control weaknesses were reported for 10 from September 1994
through April 1996.  The two most commonly reported weakness indicate
fundamental deficiencies in the ability of agencies to protect
federal information and the continuity of federal operations.  The
first was poor access control, which increases the risk that an
individual or group could inappropriately modify or disclose
sensitive data or computer programs for purposes such as personal
gain or sabotage.  The second most commonly reported weakness was
inadequate disaster planning, which increases the risk that an agency
will not be able to satisfactorily recover from an unexpected
interruption in critical operations.  Many of the identified
weaknesses have remained uncorrected for years.  Of the 10 agencies
with reported weaknesses, FMFIA reports for 5 showed that the
problems had remained uncorrected for 5 years or longer. 

Examples of reported problems include the following: 

  -- Estimates by the Department of Defense indicate that attacks on
     unclassified computer systems and networks are a serious and
     growing threat to our national security, including Defense's
     ability to execute military operations and protect sensitive
     information.  Defense data indicate that Defense may have
     experienced as many as 250,000 attacks in 1995 and that the
     number of attacks is doubling each year.  Successful attacks by
     outside intruders have shut down systems and corrupted sensitive
     data.  However, estimates based on tests conducted since 1992
     showed that less than 1 percent of attacks on Defense's systems
     were detected and reported.  Although no summary costs have been
     developed, Defense officials estimate that the cost of such
     incidents is at least tens of millions of dollars per year.\1

  -- During our audit of the IRS' fiscal year 1995 financial
     statements, we found that, as reported since 1993, controls over
     sensitive information were inadequate.\2

Although corrective actions are under way, as detailed in previous
reports, IRS could not ensure that the confidentiality and accuracy
of taxpayer data were protected and that the data were not
manipulated for purposes of individual gain.  Specifically, (1)
controls did not prevent users from unauthorized access to sensitive
programs and data files, (2) numerous users were allowed powerful
access privileges that could allow circumvention of existing
controls, and (3) security reports used to monitor and identify
unauthorized access to the system were cumbersome and virtually
useless to managers for monitoring activity.  In addition, back-up
and recovery plans were inadequate to provide reasonable assurance
that IRS service centers could recover from disasters.\3

  -- In June 1994, we reported a variety of computer-related control
     weaknesses at the Customs Service, including that thousands of
     internal and external users had inappropriate access to critical
     and sensitive programs and data files.\4 In May 1995, the
     Department of the Treasury Inspector General reported that
     despite attempts to correct the problem, the weaknesses
     continued to exist.\5

  -- In June 1994 and June 1995, we reported that controls over the
     Department of Education's Federal Family Education Loan Program
     (FFELP) did not adequately protect sensitive data files,
     application programs, and systems software from unauthorized
     access, change, or disclosure.  These controls are critical to
     Education's ability to safeguard FFELP assets, maintain
     sensitive loan data, and ensure the reliability of financial
     management information about the program.  The Department
     reported that FFELP had $77 billion in outstanding loan
     guarantees as of September 30, 1994. 

  -- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) first reported
     the lack of a formal, well-coordinated system security program
     in its Administration for Children and Families in its fiscal
     year 1990 FMFIA report.  In December 1995, HHS reported that the
     Administration still had not implemented fundamental computer
     security program elements such as risk assessments and
     independent reviews of contingency plans for sensitive systems
     supporting this $17 billion dollar per year program. 

  -- The Department of Justice first recognized automated data
     processing security as a weakness in 1985.  Although Justice
     reported in February 1996 that it has made departmentwide
     security improvements, it also reported that some components had
     not completed and tested continuity of operations plans,
     developed policies for computer and telecommunications security,
     or conducted required risk assessments of component computer
     systems. 

  -- In March 1995, the Department of Agriculture's Inspector General
     reported that controls over access to computer software programs
     and data were inadequate to prevent unauthorized activity at the
     Department's National Finance Center.\6 The Center processes
     billions of dollars in payments and sensitive information for
     itself and other agencies, including payroll, retirement
     savings, administrative and travel payments, and property
     management information. 

  -- In March 1995, the Office of Personnel Management Inspector
     General reported that federal retirement program assets were
     "highly vulnerable to loss or misuse" because of electronic data
     processing weaknesses, primarily excessively broad user access
     privileges, related to systems that maintained 2.1 million
     annuitant files and generated $36 billion in benefit payments
     during fiscal year 1994. 

Serious information security weaknesses may also exist for some of
the five agencies for which no weaknesses were reported.  This is
because audit reports at one agency specifically stated that
computer-related controls had not been reviewed as part of the audit. 
Also, audit managers at two other agencies said that their computer
audit capabilities were limited, and they could not readily determine
what, if any, work they or their contractors had performed in this
area. 

For the 10 agencies with serious reported weaknesses, auditors made
90 new recommendations for specific corrective actions in reports
issued from September 1994 through May 1996.  In addition, these
reports referred to numerous recommendations made in prior years that
had not yet been fully or effectively implemented. 

Although most agencies have reported actions initiated or planned to
correct their weaknesses, a recurring condition reported in GAO,
inspector general, and FMFIA reports is that agency actions, while
resulting in some improvement, are not completed promptly and do not
adequately address identified problems.  Recent audits at IRS,
Education, and Customs all found that, while some improvements had
been made, corrective actions at those agencies had been repeatedly
delayed or were incomplete. 

As with Defense, the costs of agencies' information security
weaknesses cannot be determined because agencies generally do not
keep summary records of security violations or account for the cost
of responding to such violations.  In addition, due to poor controls
and lack of user awareness, it is possible that many violations are
not being detected or reported. 


--------------------
\1 Information Security:  Computer Attacks at Department of Defense
Pose Increasing Risks (GAO/AIMD-96-84, May 22, 1996). 

\2 Financial Audit:  Examination of IRS' Fiscal Year 1995 Financial
Statements (GAO/AIMD-96-101, July 11, 1996). 

\3 Financial Audit:  Examination of IRS' Fiscal Year 1994 Financial
Statements (GAO/AIMD-95-141, August 4, 1995) and IRS Information
Systems:  Weaknesses Increase Risk of Fraud and Impair Reliability of
Management Information (GAO/AIMD-93-34, September 22, 1993). 

\4 Financial Audit:  Examination of Customs' Fiscal Year 1993
Financial Statements (GAO/AIMD-94-119, June 15, 1994). 

\5 Audit of the United States Customs Services Fiscal Year 1994
Financial Statements, OIG-95-071, May 1, 1995. 

\6 U.S.  Department of Agriculture Fiscal Year 1994 National Finance
Center General Controls Review, New Orleans, Louisiana (OIG, Audit
Report No.  11600-3-FM, March 1995). 


   POOR SECURITY PROGRAM
   MANAGEMENT IS AN UNDERLYING
   CAUSE
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:2

A well designed and managed security program with senior-level
support is essential for ensuring that an agency's controls are
appropriate and effective on a continuing basis.  In this regard,
managing information security is similar to managing risks associated
with other aspects of agency operations.  The program should
establish a process and assign responsibilities for systematically
(1) assessing risk, (2) promoting user awareness of security issues,
(3) developing and implementing effective security policies and
related control techniques, (4) monitoring the appropriateness and
effectiveness of these policies and techniques, and (5) providing
feedback to managers who may then make adjustments as needed.  Such a
program can provide senior officials a means of managing information
security risks and the related costs rather than just reacting to
individual incidents. 

Without a well designed and managed program, security controls may be
inadequate; responsibilities may be unclear, misunderstood, and
improperly implemented; and controls may be ineffective or
inconsistently applied.  Such conditions generally result in
insufficient protection of sensitive or critical resources and,
conversely, may result in disproportionately high expenditures for
controls over low-risk resources. 

Individual audit reports describe varying causes for specific control
weaknesses at individual agencies.  However, in our reviews of
information security controls, we found that the major underlying
factor was lack of a well managed information security program with
senior management support.  For example, in May 1996, we reported
that Defense had not established a comprehensive computer security
program and had not assigned responsibility for ensuring that such a
program was implemented.  As a result, Defense information security
policies were dated, inconsistent, and incomplete; user awareness was
insufficient; and security personnel were inadequately trained. 
Similarly, in August 1995, we reported that IRS had no proactive,
independent information security group that was systematically
deployed to review the adequacy and consistency of security over IRS'
computer operations.  Instead, IRS was addressing information
security issues on a reactive basis.  In June 1995, we reported that
information security weaknesses at Education resulted from the
Department's overall weak security administration and failure to
develop and implement key policies and procedures.  Several of the
inspector general audit reports that we reviewed also indicated that
agency managers were not taking the steps needed to ensure that
controls had been implemented and were operating properly. 

To gain an additional perspective on the causes of poor controls, we
met with selected members of the steering committee of the Federal
Computer Security Managers Forum, an information-sharing group
established by NIST.  These officials said that additional support
from senior management would allow them to establish more effective
programs.  According to forum members, a lack of management support
can result in inadequate resources devoted to information security, a
situation that limits the ability of security program managers to
address security needs proactively. 

A number of factors can contribute to the perception of a lack of
senior management support for information security.  First, as with
other types of internal controls, senior managers may view security
efforts as impediments to the efficient accomplishment of the
agency's mission.  This is because security controls cost money to
implement and monitor, and, generally, they diminish the ease with
which systems and data can be accessed and updated.  In addition,
some senior managers may be unaware of the full range of threats and
vulnerabilities that must be considered when determining what level
of information security is adequate.  Others may not have the data
they need to make informed decisions.  As a result, they may want to
adopt information technology for new applications without adequately
considering the related risks, or they may be unwilling to strengthen
security over existing procedures.  A comprehensive security program
can help senior managers maintain an appropriate balance between
operational efficiency and security by systematically and continually
fine-tuning policies and control procedures through a risk
assessment, monitoring, and feedback cycle. 

As agency systems become more interconnected and open to large
numbers of outside users and as more sophisticated technical controls
become available, the effort needed to manage agency systems and
monitor the effectiveness of related controls will become more
complex and more time-consuming.  The benefits of better service and
lower processing costs should far outweigh the cost of these
additional security efforts.  However, it will be important for
senior managers to recognize the security challenges involved and to
help their organizations successfully meet these challenges. 


GUIDANCE TO AGENCIES HAS BEEN
UPDATED, BUT OVERSIGHT HAS BEEN
UNEVEN
============================================================ Chapter 3

OMB has participated in a variety of efforts to develop
governmentwide policies regarding federal information security, and
it recently issued an updated version of its central guidance to
agencies on minimum automated information security program
requirements.  OMB has also monitored agency efforts to address
recognized security weaknesses or potential weaknesses related to
individual agency programs or systems.  However, OMB has not
proactively attempted to identify and address the underlying causes
of these problems, which often are rooted in the design and
management of an agency's overall information security program.  In
addition, the depth and scope of OMB's monitoring efforts have varied
significantly from one agency to another. 

Although security program management is primarily the responsibility
of agency managers, under the Paperwork Reduction Act, OMB is charged
with overseeing the use of federal information resources, including
providing direction and overseeing the "privacy, confidentiality,
security, disclosure, and sharing of information." OMB oversees and
guides agency operations through its three statutory offices, which
are primarily responsible for setting policy, and its five Resource
Management Offices (RMO),\1 which are primarily responsible for
examining agency budget issues and overseeing agencies implementation
of governmentwide management policies.  The Office of Information and
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is the statutory office responsible for
establishing governmentwide information resource management policies,
including those related to information security, and assisting the
RMOs in overseeing agency implementation of these policies. 


--------------------
\1 In 1994, OMB implemented a reorganization plan that replaced its
former five budget program areas with five RMOs, redistributed staff,
and created RMO program examiner positions to replace budget examiner
positions.  The intent of this reorganization, referred to as OMB
2000, was to integrate OMB's budget analysis, management review, and
policy development roles and, thus, improve the decision-making
process and oversight of executive branch operations.  A detailed
description of these changes is presented in our report entitled
Office of Management and Budget:  Changes Resulting From the OMB 2000
Reorganization (GAO/GGD/AIMD-96-50, December 29, 1995). 


   OIRA HAS FOCUSED ON DEVELOPING
   AND COMMUNICATING POLICY
   GUIDANCE
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:1

OIRA's information security oversight efforts are conducted primarily
by its Information Policy and Technology Branch, which employs 10
individuals who regularly deal with governmentwide information
resource management issues.  Three of these individuals have
routinely spent a significant amount of their time on information
security issues. 

Over the last few years the Branch has participated in various
projects to address cross-cutting information security issues as part
of its overall responsibility to establish information resource
management policies.  These include efforts to (1) develop federal
policies on the use of cryptography, (2) define the federal role
regarding the security of the national information infrastructure,
(3) assist the General Services Administration in developing
telecommunications security requirements, and (4) explore security
issues related to electronic commerce.  However, the Branch's most
basic and comprehensive accomplishment regarding federal agency
security practices was developing an updated version of OMB Circular
A-130, Appendix III, "Security of Federal Automated Information
Resources."

Issued in February 1996, the revised Appendix III is intended to
clarify guidance to agencies on managing information security as they
increasingly rely on open and interconnected systems.  Like the
previous version, issued in 1985, the new appendix establishes a
minimum set of controls that are to be included in federal automated
information security programs.  These include assigning
responsibility for security, developing a system security plan,
screening and training individual users, assessing risk, planning for
disasters and contingencies, and reviewing security safeguards at
least every 3 years.  However, unlike the previous version, the
revised appendix recognizes that all federal computer systems require
some level of protection, not just systems judged to be "sensitive"
by agency managers.  It also requires agencies to clearly define
responsibilities and expected behavior for all individuals with
access to automated systems and to implement security incident
response and reporting capabilities.  In developing the revised
appendix, OIRA obtained significant input from agency managers, NIST,
and the Computer System Security and Privacy Advisory Board,\2
including written comments from over 27 organizations and
individuals, before issuing the final version. 

Comments on the exposure draft of the revised Appendix III indicate
that it is generally considered to be a valuable and necessary update
to this central federal policy document that recognizes the
increasingly open and interconnected computer systems that support
agency operations.  The senior information resource managers and
security program managers that we met also generally agreed that OIRA
had done a good job of developing and communicating guidance
regarding information security and responding to their individual
requests for clarification of guidance. 

To assist in overseeing agency practices regarding information
resource management, including security, analysts in OIRA's
Information Policy and Technology Branch communicate frequently with
RMO program examiners to (1) help ensure that the examiners are aware
of high-risk or problem areas that affect the agency programs and (2)
provide technical assistance to the RMOs, sometimes at the request of
individual examiners.  The Branch also attempts to maintain an
understanding of agency practices through informal discussions with
agency personnel and participation in various conferences and
meetings.  For example, the Branch's primary information security
policy analyst estimates that he has made six to eight presentations
at individual agencies per year and numerous presentations at
professional conferences and meetings, such as those of the Computer
System Security and Privacy Advisory Board.  He has also routinely
participated in the Federal Computer Security Managers Forum, which
is sponsored by NIST and meets approximately every 4 to 6 weeks.  At
Forum meetings, he has the opportunity to talk directly with the
individuals who are responsible for administering agency security
programs. 

However, OIRA does not systematically monitor agency compliance with
OMB information security guidance or assess the effectiveness of
agency information security management practices that are fundamental
elements in the agencies' ability to effectively deal with
information security risks and identified weaknesses.  The most
recent effort to methodically gain a relatively detailed overview of
agency practices was completed in 1992.  That effort involved a
series of visits at each of 28 agencies by a team of OMB, NIST, and
National Security Agency representatives.  According to a January
1992 letter to the Director of OMB from the Computer System Security
and Privacy Advisory Board, the visits were enthusiastically received
and resulted in greater awareness on the part of senior officials,
which, in turn, resulted in increased management support for agency
computer security programs.  In addition, the visits resulted in
proposals for improving federal information security, most of which
were incorporated in OMB's February 1996 revision of Circular A-130,
Appendix III. 

Despite the apparent success of the 1992 visits, Information Policy
and Technology Branch officials said that they have no plans to
repeat the effort because it was very resource intensive.  They said
that as a result, no systematic visits to agencies were currently
planned and that any future efforts along this line would address a
range of information resource management concerns in addition to
security. 

Engaging the services of contractors on a limited basis would be one
means by which OMB could supplement its staff resources and
periodically take a closer look at individual agency practices. 
Information Policy and Technology Branch officials told us that OMB
has not customarily used contractors to assist in carrying out its
oversight responsibilities.  At GAO, we have found that engaging
contractors to assist on individual projects can be a cost-effective
means of expanding our ability to review agency operations,
especially in areas such as information security where very specific
and often highly technical expertise may be needed. 


--------------------
\2 The Computer System Security and Privacy Advisory Board was
established by the Computer Security Act to identify emerging issues
related to computer system security and privacy; to advise NIST on
these issues; and to report its findings to OMB, the National
Security Agency, the Secretary of Commerce, and appropriate
committees of the Congress.  It is composed of both federal and
private sector representatives. 


   RMO OVERSIGHT OF INFORMATION
   SECURITY PRACTICES HAS BEEN
   UNEVEN
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:2

We met with branch chiefs and program examiners responsible for
examining programs at 11 of the 15 agencies covered by our review and
found that their attention to information security varied.  Examiners
for all but one agency said that they considered information security
during their examination of agency budgets and programs to some
extent, although examiners for eight agencies said that they only did
so when it had been highlighted by agency management or in audit
reports as a problem.  These considerations were generally limited to
monitoring agency progress in correcting recognized problems and did
not involve examining an agency's information security program or the
effectiveness of agency security practices in general.  For example,
the RMO branches overseeing the Departments of Agriculture and
Education and the Office of Personnel Management all said that they
had paid special attention to security issues associated with certain
systems or facilities because weaknesses had been recently reported. 

The program examiners and their branch chiefs said that information
security is usually not closely examined because it is only one of
many issues demanding their attention.  The number of program
examiners responsible for each agency varied from about 5 for the
Department of Education to about 30 for the Department of Defense.\3

There were a few cases where known problems were receiving virtually
no attention from the RMOs.  Most notably, the representative that we
spoke with about the branches that oversee the Department of Defense
said that the program examiners there almost never considered
problems related to information systems, including security, because
such issues did not seem to have a significant budget impact compared
to other issues and programs.  He emphasized that due to the
Department of Defense's size and variety of programs, the Defense
examiners had to be very selective in deciding which items merited
examination.  Also, a long-standing problem regarding a lack of
disaster recovery planning at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
appeared to have prompted little interest from the RMO branch
responsible for overseeing the Department, although other security
issues were considered. 

Officials in several branches indicated that they were becoming
increasingly sensitized to the significance of information security
due to recent operational issues within their agencies.  For example,
the VA Branch Chief said that VA's efforts to streamline its
processes by accessing needed information in other agencies' systems
had raised a number of concerns about the security of shared data and
the related legal requirements.  Similar concerns were expressed by
the branches overseeing system modernization projects at the
Department of Agriculture and the Health Care Financing
Administration because these projects would result in increased
accessibility of sensitive information on individuals. 

Despite the increasing importance of information security, few of the
program examiners said that they had any significant experience or
expertise in dealing with information systems or related security
issues.  Most said that due to their lack of expertise, they depended
largely on OIRA to help them understand the issues and assess related
agency actions.  Most of the branches said they had good working
relationships with OIRA, as well as the other statutory offices
within OMB, and that when they needed technical assistance, it was
available.  Also, some branches had informally designated an
individual with some experience in examining systems-related issues
to review these issues and to serve as a resource for other examiners
in the branch.  Two of the branches we visited each had a relatively
experienced individual to assist in the branch's examinations.  These
individuals were very familiar with their agencies' information
processing operations and appeared to have performed a much more
comprehensive review of information security than had been performed
by other branches. 

OMB provides no formal training to the RMO program examiners
regarding information systems management and related security issues. 
Each summer, OMB provides several days of seminars on issues of
interest to examiners.  However, only a few hours are devoted to
topics handled by OIRA, including information resource management
issues, such as system development issues and security.  Officials in
the Information Policy and Technology Branch believe that ad hoc
on-the-job learning is more effective in increasing the expertise of
program examiners than a more formal program of training or awareness
sessions would be.  This is because the examiners can be overwhelmed
by the volume of information available to them, and they are more
likely to absorb information that is immediately useful.  However,
one branch chief said that there are few on-the-job learning
opportunities regarding security issues because his branch devotes
little attention to such issues. 


--------------------
\3 These numbers are approximate, because program examiners are
organized by programmatic issues, rather than strictly by agency. 
Most of the RMO branches we visited were responsible for one major
department and one or more smaller agencies with related programs. 
However, in some cases, an agency's programs were divided among two
or more branches. 


   INFORMATION ROUTINELY AVAILABLE
   FOR OVERSIGHT IS LIMITED
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:3

To effectively oversee and influence any activity, it is essential to
have meaningful, reliable, and routinely available information on the
operations being examined.  However, the documented information that
OMB routinely obtains on the design and effectiveness of agency
information security programs varies significantly in quality,
quantity, and usefulness. 

Officials in OIRA's Information Policy and Technology Branch said
that they routinely obtain annual internal control assessments
required under the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA)
and strategic information resource management plans.  Since 1985, OMB
Circular A-130, Appendix III, has directed agencies to review their
sensitive systems at least every 3 years, certify the adequacy of
security safeguards, and include identified weaknesses in the
agencies' annual reports on internal controls required by FMFIA. 
Also, the Computer Security Act requires each agency to include a
summary of its information security plan in its strategic information
resource management plan that it submits annually to OMB.  However,
these documents vary significantly in level of detail and were often
of little value for oversight purposes.  Our review found that the
FMFIA reports tended to contain very cursory information that made it
difficult to precisely understand the nature of the weakness
reported.  Similarly, most of the security program summaries were
very brief, and, in most cases, they only described very general
agency goals and policies, with little information on the
effectiveness of the program or on planned improvements.  Further,
the reporting formats varied considerably among agencies. 

The RMO branches that we met with said that they attempted to obtain
whatever information was available on the programs they examined, in
addition to the agency budget documents that were the starting point
for their examinations.  However, most RMO examiners said that they
did not routinely seek out information on or review agency security
programs and that any investigation of security issues that they made
was almost always prompted by issues raised by management or
auditors. 

Most examiners said that they relied primarily on inquiries of agency
officials and related documentation in examining agency programs,
including any security issues that they were aware of.  However, they
also said that they used audit reports, usually issued by agency
inspectors general and by GAO.  Several examiners noted that such
audit reports were useful both in providing them an independent
assessment of agency operations and in strengthening their ability to
encourage agency actions.  Also, several of the branches said that
their examinations benefitted from good working relationships with
agency inspector general officials, who would alert them to key
inspector general reports and other issues.  We found that, for the
most part, at least one examiner in each of the branches we met with
was familiar with the information security weaknesses that had been
reported in inspector general, GAO, and FMFIA reports for their
agencies.  However, some examiners were unaware of related detailed
reports that had been issued on these weaknesses. 

Until recently, independent audits of information security practices
were performed largely at the discretion of inspector general offices
and GAO and in response to congressional interest.  As a result, OMB
analysts and examiners could not rely on such reports being routinely
available.  However, program examiners at some agencies said that
they have begun to review annual audits performed under the CFO Act
as a means of monitoring agency control weaknesses, including those
related to information security.  These audits are discussed further
in chapter 4 of this report. 


OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVING
OVERSIGHT ARE EMERGING
============================================================ Chapter 4

Two relatively new developments can serve to improve and facilitate
OMB's ability to oversee and influence the effectiveness of agency
information security programs.  One is an expansion of independent
information security reviews prompted by financial statement audits
required under the CFO Act.  Another is the recently established CIO
Council, which can serve as a forum for addressing governmentwide
information security issues and raising security awareness. 


   FINANCIAL STATEMENT AUDITS ARE
   A GROWING SOURCE OF INFORMATION
   ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF
   INFORMATION SECURITY CONTROLS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 4:1

Although Inspector General offices and GAO have reviewed information
security at federal agencies on a selective basis for decades, audits
performed under the CFO Act promise to make such independent audit
information more routinely available at all major agencies. 
Generally, CFO Act audits are required to include an evaluation of
the auditee's internal controls, including information security
controls.  Such evaluations can assist OMB and the Congress in their
oversight roles and serve as useful tools for agency managers. 

In the early 1990s, selected segments of federal operations became
subject to annual financial statement audits by agency inspector
general offices under the CFO Act.  In 1994, this audit requirement
was extended to all major federal entities by the Government
Management Reform Act (Public Law 103-356).  As a result, the
percentage of federal expenditures that is audited has been steadily
growing, and, by fiscal year 1997, about 98 percent will be covered
by such audits. 

The primary responsibility for monitoring information security
programs rests with agency managers who must routinely assess their
programs and adjust policies and practices as needed.  However,
independent audits, such as the CFO Act audits, can be useful to OMB
because they provide an objective evaluation that may identify
weaknesses that were overlooked by agency self assessments.  For
example, IRS did not report its information security weaknesses in
its annual FMFIA report until after independent audits had identified
the weaknesses. 

Although the reviews of computer security controls associated with
CFO Act audits pertain to financial management systems, they usually
cover a significant portion of each agency's operations.  This is
because program and financial systems often are supported by common
data centers and communications networks that are subject to the same
general controls.  For example, personnel responsible for making
needed changes to software are likely to follow the same set of
procedures for controlling such changes regardless of whether they
pertain to a financial or nonfinancial system.  Similarly, the
adequacy of a disaster recovery plan for a large data center is
likely to affect the security of all of that center's
operations--both financial and nonfinancial.  Also, program
management systems often are the source of many detailed financial
transactions and, therefore, are included in the auditor's review. 

However, there are significant aspects of some agencies' operations
involving sensitive computerized data that are not likely to be
covered by financial statement audits.  Examples include medical
records and certain types of data supporting law enforcement
operations.  For this reason, it is important for OMB, as well as
agency managers, to coordinate their reviews of CFO Act audit reports
and their reviews of other information security assessments, such as
self assessments conducted in accordance with FMFIA and OMB Circular
A-130.  When viewed together, these audits and assessments may
provide a more comprehensive view of agency information security and
allow OMB and agency officials to identify gaps in review coverage. 

The awareness and use of CFO Act audit reports as a means of
identifying information security weaknesses varied among the OMB
analysts and examiners that we spoke with.  This is understandable
since audits of many agency programs have not been required until
recently, and the routine availability of annual financial audit
reports is relatively new.  OIRA officials told us that they had not
viewed these reports as a source of information on agency compliance
with federal policies, because they did not realize that information
security reviews were generally included in financial statement
audits.  However, they said that in the future, they would obtain CFO
audit reports from OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management,
where they are routinely received from agencies.  The awareness of
RMO program examiners was mixed.  Most were aware of the CFO audit
reports that affected the programs they were responsible for
examining.  However, a few were unaware of significant information
security problems that had been reported. 


   NEW CIO COUNCIL CAN ADDRESS
   GOVERNMENTWIDE ISSUES AND
   INCREASE AWARENESS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 4:2

Another recent development that can facilitate OMB's oversight is the
recently established CIO Council.  The Council, established in July
1996 through Executive Order, is intended to be "the principal
interagency forum to improve agency practices on such matters as the
design, modernization, use, sharing, and performance of agency
information resources." In this regard it is to support
implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and the
Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996.  It is chaired
by OMB's Deputy Director for Management, and its membership includes
CIOs from all major federal agencies. 

The senior information resource managers that we spoke with and
officials at OIRA agreed that the Council would be an appropriate
forum for addressing information security issues and raising
awareness governmentwide.  However, officials at two agencies
expressed their opinions that to be effective, the Council must take
an active role in addressing problems, such as security, and go
beyond just promoting awareness and sharing information. 

With the support of the CIO Council and OMB, CIOs at individual
agencies can raise the awareness of senior program officials to
information security risks and serve as an important link between
technical staff, who understand technical system and
telecommunications vulnerabilities, and program managers, who
understand the vulnerabilities associated with program activities,
such as the risks of making inappropriate payments or inappropriately
disclosing personal data on individuals.  In addition, the CIOs can
work together to identify and initiate efforts that benefit all of
their agencies.  Such efforts could include developing training
programs, identifying best practices, and establishing interagency
teams to review information security programs in multiple agencies. 


CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND
AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION
============================================================ Chapter 5

While agencies are moving toward greater reliance on computers and
electronic data to improve operations, recent reports indicate that
many are not adequately addressing the associated risks.  Most
importantly, these agencies have not instituted security programs
that are the foundation for ensuring that specific control techniques
are appropriately selected and effectively implemented.  The
potential risks and related management challenges will increase as
reliance on networked systems and electronic data increases and as
more sophisticated control techniques become available.  For this
reason, it is important that OMB and agencies move promptly to
increase senior management awareness of this problem and institute
effective programs for managing these risks. 

Implementing effective information security programs is primarily the
responsibility of managers at individual federal agencies, since they
are the most familiar with program risks and they have the ability to
bring resources to bear where they will be most effective.  However,
OMB is responsible for overseeing these activities.  OMB could
strengthen its ability to fulfill this role if (1) it obtained more
concise and meaningful information on the design of agency security
programs and (2) RMO program examiners--the individuals with the most
detailed understanding of agency operations--were more familiar with
information security issues and did not have to depend as much on
OIRA's limited staff for assistance. 


   RECOMMENDATIONS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 5:1

To improve its oversight capability, it is important that OMB
capitalize on every opportunity to leverage its resources and take
advantage of all available information on agency information security
practices.  Some opportunities, including the increased number of
annual financial statement audit reports and the recently established
CIO Council, are already emerging as potential aids in overseeing and
improving agency information security programs.  However, there are
additional steps that OMB can take to ensure that these opportunities
are exploited and to increase the expertise of its staff.  In this
regard, we recommend that the Director of OMB take the following
actions: 

  -- Advocate and promote the CIO Council's adoption of information
     security as one of its top priorities and development of a
     strategic plan for (1) increasing awareness of the importance of
     information security, especially among senior agency executives,
     and (2) improving information security program management
     governmentwide.  Initiatives that the CIO Council should
     consider incorporating in its strategic plan include

developing information on the existing security risks associated with
nonclassified systems currently in use;

developing information on the risks associated with evolving
practices, such as Internet use;

identifying best practices regarding information security programs so
that they can be adopted by federal agencies;

establishing a program for reviewing the adequacy of individual
agency information security programs using interagency teams of
reviewers;

ensuring adequate review coverage of agency information security
practices by considering the scope of various types of audits and
reviews performed and acting to address any identified gaps in
coverage;

developing or identifying training and certification programs that
can be shared among agencies; and

identifying proven security tools and techniques. 

  -- Direct the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the
     Office of Federal Financial Management, and the Resource
     Management Offices to (1) supplement their current reviews of
     audit reports to include reviewing audits conducted under the
     CFO Act in order to identify any findings related to information
     security and (2) use this information, in conjunction with
     reports on agency self assessments, to assist in proactively
     monitoring the scope of such reviews and the effectiveness of
     agency information security practices. 

  -- Encourage the development of improved sources of information
     with which to monitor compliance with OMB's guidance and the
     effectiveness of agency information security programs.  This
     could include engaging assistance from private contractors or
     others with appropriate expertise, such as federally funded
     research and development centers.\1

  -- Direct the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to
     develop and implement a program for increasing program
     examiners' understanding of information security management
     issues so that they can more readily identify and understand the
     implications of information security weaknesses on agency
     programs. 


--------------------
\1 Federally funded research and development centers are
organizations sponsored by federal agencies to meet special research
needs.  The centers are operated by educational institutions,
nonprofit organizations, and industrial firms. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR
   EVALUATION
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 5:2

In written comments on a draft of this report, OMB agreed that
information security is an important management issue and stated that
certain of the report's recommendations are meritorious.  In
particular, OMB said that it will encourage the CIO Council to adopt
information security as one of its top priorities and that it will
review (1) the training and related materials provided to program
examiners and (2) the availability of improved sources of
information.  However, OMB disagreed with the report's tone, which it
characterized as suggesting "that OMB has not been dedicating
sufficient resources in the past to overseeing the agencies'
information security activities, and that therefore OMB in the future
should dedicate more of its resources to this objective." In
addition, OMB stated its concern that the report overemphasizes OMB's
role and that this could distract federal agencies from their
responsibilities as the primary managers of federal information
security. 

We agree that agency managers are primarily responsible for
information security.  Our audit efforts related to information
security over the past few years have focused almost exclusively on
individual agency practices, and we have made dozens of related
recommendations to agency officials.  Thirty products resulting from
this work and containing these recommendations are listed at the end
of this report.  The results of this work led us to identify a
pattern of governmentwide information security weaknesses. 

In light of the pattern of weaknesses that we have identified and the
increasing importance of information security in virtually every
aspect of federal operations, OMB has a vital leadership role to play
in promoting and overseeing agency security practices.  This role was
recently reemphasized in the Information Technology Management Reform
Act of 1996 and in revisions to the Paperwork Reduction Act, which
together explicitly outline OMB's responsibilities for overseeing
agency practices regarding information privacy and security. 
Information security has become a consideration in the management of
virtually every major federal program and in billions of dollars in
annual information technology investment decisions.  For these
reasons, we believe that information security, as well as other
information management issues, merits a high priority relative to
other budget and management issues. 

In this regard, our recommendations are focused primarily not on
increasing the amount of OMB resources but on increasing the impact
of OMB's current resources by taking advantage of newly available
audit information, discussed in chapter 4, and by expanding staff
expertise.  These actions, at a minimum, are needed to help address
growing concerns over the adequacy of federal information security. 
We also believe that periodic oversight reviews of agency information
security programs would be beneficial but that such reviews could be
performed by interagency teams under the auspices of the OMB-chaired
CIO Council, as we suggest in chapter 4. 




(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix I
COMMENTS FROM THE OFFICE OF
MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
============================================================ Chapter 5

See comment 1. 

See comment 1. 



(See figure in printed edition.)

See comment 2. 

See comment 3. 


The following are GAO's comments on OMB's letter of August 22, 1996. 


   GAO COMMENTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 5:3

1.  Discussed in the "Agency Comments and Our Evaluation" sections in
the executive summary and at the end of chapter 5. 

2.  We do not recommend that OMB's limited staff be used to perform
in-depth compliance reviews at individual agencies.  However, we
believe that OMB does have responsibility for overseeing compliance
with the guidance it has issued and that it should work to improve
its ability to do so.  The report recommends that OMB (1) take
advantage of the growing amount of audit information on information
security that is being prompted by CFO Act audits at individual
agencies and (2) encourage the development of improved sources of
information with which to monitor compliance with OMB's guidance.  We
also believe that periodic oversight reviews of agencies' information
security programs would be beneficial but that such reviews could be
performed by interagency teams under the auspices of the OMB-chaired
CIO Council, as we suggest in chapter 4. 

3.  The report does not contain recommendations to agencies because
numerous such recommendations have already been included in other GAO
products.  Thirty of these products, most of which contain
recommendations to individual agencies, are listed at the end of this
report.  Other reports on information security have been issued by
agency inspectors general, as discussed in chapter 2.  We believe
that the audit emphasis on information security will continue, in
part as a result of the CFO Act audits and in part due to growing
concerns regarding security in a networked computer environment. 
Such audits will serve as continuing reminders to federal agency
managers of their information security responsibilities. 


MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS REPORT
========================================================== Appendix II


   ACCOUNTING AND INFORMATION
   MANAGEMENT DIVISION,
   WASHINGTON, DC
-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix II:1

Jean L.  H.  Boltz, Assistant Director
Richard L.  Sumner, Information Systems Analyst
Ona Noble, Information Systems Analyst


RELATED GAO PRODUCTS
============================================================ Chapter 1

Financial Audit:  Examination of IRS' Fiscal Year 1995 Financial
Statements (GAO/AIMD-96-101, July 11, 1996). 

Tax Systems Modernization:  Actions Underway But IRS Has Not Yet
Corrected Management and Technical Weaknesses (GAO/AIMD-96-106, June
7, 1996). 

Information Security:  Computer Attacks at Department of Defense Pose
Increasing Risks (GAO/AIMD-96-84, May 22, 1996). 

Information Security:  Computer Attacks at Department of Defense Pose
Increasing Risks (GAO/T-AIMD-96-92, May 22, 1996). 

Tax Systems Modernization:  Management and Technical Weaknesses Must
Be Overcome To Achieve Success (GAO/T-AIMD-96-75, March 26, 1996). 

Financial Audit:  Federal Family Education Loan Program's Financial
Statements for Fiscal Years 1994 and 1993 (GAO/AIMD-96-22, February
26, 1996). 

Financial Management:  Challenges Facing DOD in Meeting the Goals of
the Chief Financial Officers Act (GAO/T-AIMD-96-1, November 14,
1995). 

Financial Audit:  Examination of IRS' Fiscal Year 1994 Financial
Statements (GAO/ AIMD-95-141, August 4, 1995). 

Financial Audit:  Resolution Trust Corporation's 1994 and 1993
Financial Statements, (GAO/AIMD-95-157, June 22, 1995). 

Federal Family Education Loan Information System:  Weak Computer
Controls Increase Risk of Unauthorized Access to Sensitive Data
(GAO/AIMD-95-117, June 12, 1995). 

Department of Energy:  Procedures Lacking To Protect Computerized
Data (GAO/AIMD-95-118, June 5, 1995). 

Financial Management:  Control Weaknesses Increase Risk of Improper
Navy Civilian Payroll Payments (GAO/AIMD-95-73, May 8, 1995). 

Information Superhighway:  An Overview of Technology Challenges
(GAO/AIMD-95-23, January 23, 1995). 

Management Reform:  Implementation of the National Performance
Review's Recommendations (GAO/OCG-95-1, December 5, 1994). 

Information Superhighway:  Issues Affecting Development
(GAO/RCED-94-285, September 30, 1994). 

Financial Audit:  Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Management
Letter as of December 31, 1993 (GAO/AIMD-94-160ML, August 29, 1994). 

IRS Automation:  Controlling Electronic Filing Fraud and Improper
Access to Taxpayer Data (GAO/T-AIMD/GGD-94-183, July 19, 1994). 

Financial Audit:  Federal Family Education Loan Program's Financial
Statements for Fiscal Years 1993 and 1992 (GAO/AIMD-94-131, June 30,
1994). 

Financial Management:  CFO Act Is Achieving Meaningful Progress
(GAO/T-AIMD-94-149, June 21, 1994). 

Financial Audit:  Examination of Customs' Fiscal Year 1993 Financial
Statements (GAO/AIMD-94-119, June 15, 1994). 

Financial Audit:  Examination of IRS' Fiscal Year 1993 Financial
Statements (GAO/AIMD-94-120, June 15, 1994). 

HUD Information Resources:  Strategic Focus and Improved Management
Controls Needed (GAO/AIMD-94-34, April 14, 1994). 

Financial Audit:  Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Internal
Controls as of December 31, 1992 (GAO/AIMD-94-35, February 4, 1994). 

Financial Management:  Strong Leadership Needed to Improve Army's
Financial Accountability (GAO/AIMD-94-12, December 22, 1993). 

Communications Privacy:  Federal Policy and Actions (GAO/OSI-94-2,
November 4, 1993). 

IRS Information Systems:  Weaknesses Increase Risk of Fraud and
Impair Reliability of Management Information (GAO/AIMD-93-34,
September 22, 1993). 

Document Security:  Justice Can Improve Its Controls Over Classified
and Sensitive Documents (GAO/GGD-93-134, September 7, 1993). 

National Crime Information Center:  Legislation Needed to Deter
Misuse of Criminal Justice Information (GAO/T-GGD-93-41, July 28,
1993). 

Financial Audit:  Examination of the Army's Financial Statements for
Fiscal Years 1992 and 1991 (GAO/AIMD-93-1, June 30, 1993). 

Computer Security:  DEA Is Not Adequately Protecting National
Security Information (GAO/IMTEC-92-31, September 30, 1992). 

*** End of document. ***