Agencies fail systems security

Federal computer systems security got an overall failing grade for the second year in a row, according to an annual report card by Rep. Stephen Horn, R-Calif. The government's overall score was 55 out of 100, up from 53 a year ago.

Among agencies, the Social Security Administration scored highest, with a B minus. The Transportation Department scored lowest, with 28 points. Fourteen of 24 executive branch agencies failed, compared with 16 agencies last year.

Grades are based on studies by the General Accounting Office, Office of Management and Budget and agency chief information officers and inspectors general.

Mark Forman, OMB associate director for IT and e-government, identified three weaknesses making systems vulnerable: lack of system-level security plans and certifications; lack of agreement about weaknesses among inspectors general and chief information officers; and lack of prioritization in IT investments.

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