Funding for information security projects within the federal government would increase by more than 50 percent in 2003 under the budget proposed by President Bush.
Spending on security-related technology would jump to $4.2 billion from $2.7 billion this year. That increase is part of an overall hike in federal IT spending. Under Bushs budget plan, government agencies would get $52 billion in 2003 for IT projects, up from $48 billion.
The additional funds for information security are largely related to the fallout from the events of Sept. 11 and the general focus on all things security. And the funds couldnt come at a more opportune time for some government agencies.
A report from the General Accounting Office, itself a victim of hackers, rips the security infrastructure at the Department of Treasurys Financial Management Service as ineffective and weak. The report released Monday, is the product of a five-month-long review by the GAO of the FMS computer controls and security systems and concludes that the agencys systems are replete with holes.
The FMS serves as the federal governments financial manager and handles payroll for millions of federal employees.
Among the problems the GAO auditors found were users sharing IDs or being assigned multiple IDs; lack of password management; and inappropriate access to applications and privileges.
“The pervasiveness of the computer control weaknesses—both old and new—at FMS and its contractor data centers place billions of dollars of payments and collections at risk of loss or fraud,” the auditors wrote. “Sensitive data are at risk of inappropriate disclosure and computer-based operations are at risk of disruption”