FEMA's laptop security ineffective: IG

FEMA's laptop security ineffective: IG

Alice Lipowicz

The Federal Emergency Management Agency does not have effective procedures to protect information contained on its laptop computers, according to a new report from Homeland Security Inspector General Richard L. Skinner.

The disaster assistance agency has 32,000 laptop computers in its inventory. The IG tested 298 of FEMA's laptop computers in its audit and discovered significant shortcomings in the agency's activities to set security configurations, conduct patching to remedy vulnerabilities in data protection and manage the inventory of laptop computers.

"As a result, sensitive information stored and processed in FEMA's laptop computers may not be protected properly," Skinner concluded in the report.

In addition, the same ineffective configurations extend to FEMA's desktop computers, suggesting that the problem is widespread throughout the agency, the report said.

The IG said his staff was not able to review FEMA's compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act because there was an incomplete inventory of FEMA's laptop computers.

FEMA officials agreed with the report.

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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