GAO: Health and Human Services must close security gaps

The Health and Human Services Department displays significant weaknesses in security controls for its computer systems, according to a new
report from the Government Accountability Office.

The Health and Human Services Department has numerous vulnerabilities in its IT systems related to access controls, the report said. The department is responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, public health and hospital oversight, health research and medical planning, and operations for homeland security and disaster response.

The weak points are related to network management, user accounts and passwords, use rights and file permissions, auditing and monitoring of security-related event and controls on physical access, such as weaknesses in performance of background checks.

The key reason for the problems is that department and its operating divisions have not yet implemented a departmentwide information security program, the GAO found.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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