Index

Critical Infrastructure Protection: Comprehensive Strategy Can Draw on
Year 2000 Experiences (Letter Report, 10/01/1999, GAO/AIMD-00-1).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on efforts
to protect the nation's critical infrastructures, focusing on: (1) GAO's
recent findings on computer security and critical infrastructure
protection; and (2) preliminary lessons learned from the year 2000 date
conversion experience that can benefit critical infrastructure
protection efforts.

GAO noted that: (1) the nation's computer-based critical infrastructures
are at increasing risk of severe disruption; (2) interconnectivity
increases the risk that problems affecting one system will also affect
other interconnected systems; (3) massive computer networks provide
pathways among systems that, if not properly secured, can be used to
gain unauthorized access to data and operations from remote locations;
(4) while the threats or sources of these problems can include natural
disasters and system-induced problems, government officials are
increasingly concerned about attacks from individuals and groups with
malicious intentions, such as terrorists and nations engaging in
information warfare; (5) the resultant damage can vary, depending on the
threat; (6) critical system operations can be disrupted or otherwise
sabotaged, sensitive data can be read and copied, and data or processes
can be tampered with; (7) a significant concern is that terrorists or
hostile foreign states could launch computer-based attacks on critical
systems, such as those supporting energy distribution,
telecommunications, and financial services, to severely damage or
disrupt national defense or other operations, resulting in harm to the
public welfare; (8) the need to strengthen the computer security in both
government and the private sector has been recognized over the past few
years by a number of entities, and several initial steps have been taken
to address the problem; (9) since 1994, GAO has issued dozens of reports
on individual agency computer security weaknesses and made scores of
related recommendations; (10) during 1996 and 1997, federal information
security was addressed by the President's Commission on Critical
Infrastructure Protection, which had been established to investigate the
nation's vulnerability to both cyber and physical threats; (11) in May
1998, Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 63 recognized that
addressing computer-based risks to the nation's critical infrastructures
requires a new approach that involves coordination and cooperation
across federal agencies and among public and private-sector entities and
other nations; (12) PDD 63 created several new entities for developing
and implementing a strategy for critical infrastructure protection; (13)
the details of an approach for implementing PDD 63 are still being
developed; and (14) a number of issues will need to be resolved,
including those regarding the federal government's role in critical
infrastructure protection and how best to balance potentially competing
demands for security versus privacy.

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

 REPORTNUM:  AIMD-00-1
     TITLE:  Critical Infrastructure Protection: Comprehensive Strategy
	     Can Draw on Year 2000 Experiences
      DATE:  10/01/1999
   SUBJECT:  Information resources management
	     Interagency relations
	     Computer networks
	     Data integrity
	     Systems compatibility
	     Computer security
	     Y2K
	     Internal controls
IDENTIFIER:  Y2K
	     Internet

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ai00001 A Report to the Chairman, Special Committee on the Year
2000 Technology Problem, U. S. Senate

October 1999 CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION

Comprehensive Strategy Can Draw on Year 2000 Experiences

GAO/AIMD-00-1

  GAO/AIMD-00-1

Letter 3 Appedixes Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology
30

Appendix II: GAO Reports and Testimonies Addressing Information
Security Issues Since February 1996 32 Appendix III: GAO Reports
and Testimonies Addressing the Year 2000 Challenge 36 Appendix IV:
Risks to Computer- Supported Operations 48 Appendix V: Examples of
Information Security Weaknesses Reported by GAO for Federal
Agencies During Fiscal Year

1999 50 Figure Figure 1: Risks to Computer- Based Operations 7

Abbreviations

CIO Chief Information Officer DOD Department of Defense FBI
Federal Bureau of Investigation FISCAM Federal Information System
Controls Audit Manual ICC Information Coordination Center NASA
National Aeronautics and Space Administration NCS National
Communications Systems NIST National Institute of Standards and
Technology NIPC National Infrastructure Protection Center NSA
National Security Agency OMB Office of Management and Budget OPM
Office of Personnel Management PDD Presidential Decision Directive

Accounting and Information Management Division

Let ter

B-283617 October 1, 1999 The Honorable Robert F. Bennett Chairman
Special Committee on the Year 2000

Technology Problem United States Senate

Dear Mr. Chairman: Since the early 1990s, an explosion in computer
interconnectivity, most notably growth in use of the Internet, has
revolutionized the way our government, our nation, and much of the
world communicate and conduct

business. The benefits have been enormous. Vast amounts of
information are now literally at our fingertips, facilitating
research on virtually every topic imaginable; financial and other
business transactions can be executed almost instantaneously,
often on a 24- hour- a- day basis; and electronic mail, Internet
websites, and computer bulletin boards allow us to communicate
quickly and easily with a virtually unlimited number of other
individuals and groups. However, in addition to its benefits, this
widespread interconnectivity poses enormous risks to our computer

systems and, more importantly, to the critical operations and
infrastructures they support, such as telecommunications; power
distribution; national defense, including the military's
warfighting capability; law enforcement; government services; and
emergency services. Recent efforts to address the Year 2000
computing problem have called attention to some important aspects
of these risks. In particular, the Year

2000 problem has highlighted computer- based interdependencies and
the vulnerability of these systems to disruption. It also has
underscored the need to develop awareness, cooperation, and a
disciplined management approach to adequately address such
problems. In many ways, the Year

2000 challenge can be viewed as a major test of our nation's
ability to protect its computer- supported critical
infrastructures; although, protecting critical infrastructures
from hostile attacks on a continuous basis will require addressing
a much broader array of issues. This report responds to your
request that we (1) summarize our recent findings on computer
security and critical infrastructure protection and (2) identify
preliminary lessons learned from the Year 2000 date conversion

experience that can benefit critical infrastructure protection
efforts. It is based both on reports we issued during 1997 and
1998 and the first 9 months of 1999 and on recent discussions with
key officials involved in the Year 2000 conversion efforts and
critical infrastructure protection. Appendix I contains a more
detailed description of our objectives, scope, and methodology.
Appendix II lists our reports and testimonies that address
information security, and appendix III lists our reports and
testimonies that address the Year 2000 challenge. Results in Brief
Our nation's computer- based critical infrastructures are at
increasing risk of severe disruption. Interconnectivity increases
the risk that problems affecting one system will also affect other
interconnected systems. Massive computer networks provide pathways
among systems that, if not properly secured, can be used to gain
unauthorized access to data and operations

from remote locations. While the threats or sources of these
problems can include natural disasters, such as earthquakes, and
system- induced problems, such as the Year 2000 date conversion
problem, government officials are increasingly concerned about
attacks from individuals and groups with malicious intentions,
such as terrorists and nations engaging in information warfare.

The resultant damage can vary, depending on the threat. Critical
system operations can be disrupted or otherwise sabotaged,
sensitive data can be read and copied, and data or processes can
be tampered with. A significant concern is that terrorists or
hostile foreign states could launch computerbased

attacks on critical systems, such as those supporting energy
distribution, telecommunications, and financial services, to
severely damage or disrupt our national defense or other
operations, resulting in harm to the public welfare. Understanding
these risks to our computerbased

critical infrastructures and determining how best to mitigate them
are major information security challenges.

The need to strengthen computer security in both government and
the private sector has been recognized over the past few years by
a number of entities, and several initial steps have been taken to
address the problem. Since 1994, we have issued dozens of reports
on individual agency

computer security weaknesses and made scores of related
recommendations. In September 1996, we reported that poor
information security was a widespread federal problem. 1
Subsequently, in February 1997, in a series of reports to the
Congress, we designated information security as a new
governmentwide high- risk area. 2 During 1996 and 1997, federal
information security was addressed by the President's Commission
on Critical Infrastructure Protection, which had been established
to investigate our nation's vulnerability to both cyber and
physical threats. In its October 1997 report, Critical
Foundations: Protecting America's Infrastructures, the Commission
described the

potentially devastating implications of poor information security
from a national perspective. These efforts were supplemented in
late 1997 when the federal Chief Information Officers (CIO)
Council designated information security as one of six priority
areas and established a Security

Committee, which has taken steps to promote awareness, improve
agency access to incident response services, and support agency
improvement efforts. In May 1998, Presidential Decision Directive
(PDD) 63 recognized that addressing computer- based risks to our
nation's critical infrastructures requires a new approach that
involves coordination and cooperation across federal agencies and
among public and private- sector entities and other nations. PDD
63 created several new entities for developing and

implementing a strategy for critical infrastructure protection. In
addition, it tasked federal agencies with developing critical
infrastructure protection plans and establishing related links
with private industry sectors. Since then, a variety of activities
have been undertaken, including development and review of
individual agency's critical infrastructure protection plans,
identification and evaluation of information security standards
and best

practices, and efforts to build communication links with the
private sector. However, the details of an approach for
implementing PDD 63 are still 1 Information Security:
Opportunities for Improved OMB Oversight of Agency Practices
(GAO/AIMD-96-110, September 24, 1996). 2 High Risk Series:
Information Management and Technology (GAO/HR-97-9, February
1997).

being developed. In particular, the first version of a key element
called for in PDD 63 development of a national plan for critical
infrastructure protection has not been completed. As a result, it
is not clear how the activities undertaken to date interrelate and
whether they will effectively and efficiently support national
goals. As of late August, those involved in developing the plan
expected it to be issued in late October of this year.

As the plan is finalized and discussed, a number of issues will
need to be resolved, including those regarding the federal
government's role in critical infrastructure protection and how
best to balance potentially competing demands for security versus
privacy. Many of these issues are different from those associated
with the Year 2000 challenge. However, it is important that our
government take advantage of the experience it has gained and is
continuing to gain in addressing the Year 2000 challenge as it
strives to reduce the risk associated with longer- term threats to
our critical infrastructures. Although it is too early to identify
a comprehensive set of lessons learned, some factors provide
preliminary insights into the challenge ahead. In particular, the
Year 2000 experience has provided a

foundation for improvement and has already clearly shown the value
of  high- level congressional and executive branch leadership,
understanding risks to computer- supported operations,  providing
adequate technical expertise,  providing standard guidance,

 establishing public- private sector relationships,  facilitating
progress and monitoring performance,  developing an incident
identification and coordination capability, and  implementing
fundamental information technology management improvements.

Risks to ComputerDependent The risks associated with our nation's
reliance on interconnected computer

Operations systems are substantial and varied. The Year 2000
challenge has vividly illustrated the risks posed by a widespread
system- induced computing Are Substantial problem. However,
numerous other threats will continue to pose risks long after the
Year 2000 problem has been resolved. Some, similar to the Year
2000 problem, could cause severe disruption, while others more
directly

threaten the confidentiality or integrity of data. The following
diagram provides an overview of the various types of risks. A more
detailed description, based on a list compiled by the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is in appendix IV.

Figure 1: Risks to Computer- Based Operations

Threats

Terrorists Fraud HostileStates Natural Disasters

Pranksters Saboteurs

Spies/ Snoops Criminals UserError

Systems Supporting Critical Operations

Consumer SensitiveData Integrity of & Disclosed Data
ReportsCorrupted

& TaxpayerConfidenceLost Services &Benefits Interrupted

CriticalOperationsHalted AssetsLost

Potential Damage

While complete summary data are not available because many
computer security incidents are not reported, the number of
incidents is clearly growing. For example, the number of reported
incidents handled by Carnegie- Mellon University's CERT
Coordination Center 3 has increased from 1,334 in 1993 to 4, 398
during the first two quarters of 1999. Similarly, the fourth
annual survey conducted by the Computer Security Institute in
cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) showed
an increase in computer system intrusions for the third year in a
row. In 1999, 30 percent of 521 respondents from both the private
and public sectors reported such attacks. 4

Many incidents appear to be unrelated and result in relatively
limited damage. However, a widespread, well- organized attack
could severely disrupt or damage critical systems that are
essential to our national defense, economic prosperity, and
quality of life. In the federal government, these risks are not
being adequately addressed. Tests and evaluations of federal
systems show that these systems are not being effectively
protected, even though they process, store, and transmit enormous
amounts of sensitive data and are indispensable to many federal
agency operations. Even greater concerns have been raised about
the security of private sector systems, which control most of our
nation's critical infrastructures, such as energy,
telecommunications, financial services, transportation, and vital
human services. Virtually all U. S. residents and businesses rely
on these infrastructures, including government operations. One
cause of concern is that although there are numerous reports of
individual system intrusions and failures, there is little summary
information that can be used to more accurately estimate the risk.
Few reports are publicly available about the effectiveness of
controls over privately controlled systems, and private

entities are reluctant to disclose known problems or
vulnerabilities that 3 Originally called the Computer Emergency
Response Team, the center was established in 1988 by the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency. It is charged with (1)
establishing a capability to quickly and effectively coordinate
communication among experts in order to limit the damage
associated with, and respond to, incidents and (2) building
awareness of security issues across the Internet community. 4
Issues and Trends: 1999 CSI/ FBI Computer Crime and Security
Survey, announced March 1999.

might weaken their competitive positions or diminish customer
confidence in their services or products. In order to determine
adequate levels of protection to safeguard our critical

infrastructures, it will be important to gain a more thorough
understanding of the related risks. This will be an ongoing effort
due to fast- paced changes in computer technology and in the tools
and techniques available to wouldbe intruders. As these risks are
assessed, it will be important to consider that the computer
security improvements that would guard against purposeful, hostile
attacks on critical infrastructures could also provide other
benefits that would allow our nation and others to take further

advantage of computer technology. In particular, improved security
would provide businesses and individuals greater confidence in the
integrity and confidentiality of computerized information. Such
confidence would be likely to increase people's willingness to
engage in electronic commerce and have confidential data, such as
financial and medical records, maintained and transmitted
electronically. Risks to Federal Operations Federal operations,
such as national defense, tax collection, law enforcement, air
traffic control, and benefit payments are at risk of disruption,
as well as fraud and inappropriate disclosures, due to a variety

of security weaknesses associated with the computers on which such
operations depend. Organized attacks, such as the Solar Sunrise
attack on Department of Defense (DOD) and other computers in early
1998, and widespread computer virus infections, such as the
Melissa virus in early 1999, illustrate our government's
susceptibility to malicious computerbased actions. According to
the DOD, Solar Sunrise was a series of attacks during February
1998 that targeted its servers by exploiting a well- known
vulnerability in the Solaris operating system. The attacks were
widespread

and systematic and showed a pattern that indicated they might be
the preparation for a coordinated attack on DOD's information
infrastructure. They were of particular concern because they
targeted key parts of DOD's networks at a time when it was
preparing for possible military operations against Iraq. As we
testified in April 1999, 5 the Melissa virus affected Microsoft
word processing software. Although the Melissa virus disrupted 5
Information Security: The Melissa Computer Virus Demonstrates
Urgent Need for Stronger Protection Over Systems and Sensitive
Data (GAO/T-AIMD-99-146, April 15, 1999).

operations at thousands of companies and some government agencies,
it reportedly did not compromise sensitive government data.
However, it illustrated the speed with which malicious software
can spread in today's interconnected computing environment. Audit
reports we and agency inspectors general issued during fiscal year
1999 show that 22 of the largest federal agencies have significant
computer security weaknesses which closely mirrors a finding we
reported in September 1998. 6 Reports we issued during the past
year describe risks to operations and assets at the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Departments of
Defense, Agriculture, and Treasury. Appendix V provides more
detailed descriptions of these weaknesses.

These recent reports supplement a body of evidence on federal
computer security problems at individual agencies that we have
compiled since 1996. These reports have provided scores of
recommendations for improvement. In addition, we have issued
several summary reports that provide a more comprehensive view of
the problem and illustrate the need for concerted improvement
efforts.  In September 1996, we reported that since September
1994, serious weaknesses had been reported for 10 of the largest
15 federal agencies. 7 In that report we concluded that poor
information security was a

widespread federal problem with potentially devastating
consequences, and we recommended that the Office of Management and
Budget (OMB) play a more proactive role in overseeing agency
practices and managing improvements.  In February 1997 and again
in January 1999, our reports to the Congress

designated information security as a governmentwide high- risk
area. 8 6 Information Security: Serious Weaknesses Place Critical
Federal Operations and Assets at Risk (GAO/AIMD-98-92, September
23, 1998). 7 Information Security: Opportunities for Improved OMB
Oversight of Agency Practices (GAO/AIMD-96-110, September 24,
1996). 8 High Risk Series: Information Management and Technology
(GAO/HR-97-9, February 1997) and High Risk Series: An Update
(GAO/HR-99-1, January 1999).

 In our March 1998 and March 1999 reports on the federal
government's consolidated financial statements, we reported that
widespread and serious computer control weaknesses place enormous
amounts of federal assets at risk of fraud and misuse, financial
data at risk of unauthorized modification or destruction,
sensitive information at risk of inappropriate disclosure, and
critical operations at risk of disruption. 9

 In September 1998, we reported that critical federal operations
were at risk of disruption, fraud, and inappropriate disclosure
due to weaknesses in every major federal agency. 10 In both our
September 1996 and September 1998 reports and in testimony before
the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs in September 1998, 11
we concluded that an underlying cause of weak information security
at federal agencies was that agency officials had not instituted a
basic cycle of management procedures for ensuring that risks are
fully understood and that controls implemented to mitigate risks
are effective. 12 Our subsequent audits have continued to support
this conclusion. In particular, many agencies are not adequately
(1) assessing risks, (2) using the results of such assessments to
select controls, (3) promoting awareness, (4) evaluating

control effectiveness, and (5) coordinating their security program
through a central agency focal point. Our September 1996 and
September 1998 reports also concluded that more effective actions
were needed at the governmentwide level. In September 1998, we
recognized efforts by OMB, NIST, the federal Chief Information
Officers (CIO) Council, and the then newly initiated critical
infrastructure protection efforts called for by PDD 63, but we
also stated that a comprehensive governmentwide strategy was
needed. We noted that the new entities and responsibilities
prescribed by PDD 63 supplemented existing security requirements
prescribed in the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, OMB Circular A-
130, Appendix III, the Computer Security Act, the

9 Financial Audit: 1997 Consolidated Financial Statements of the
United States Government (GAO/AIMD-98-127, March 31, 1998) and
Financial Audit: 1998 Financial Statements of the United States
Government (GAO/AIMD-99-130, March 31, 1999). 10 Information
Security: Serious Weaknesses Place Critical Federal Operations and
Assets at Risk (GAO/AIMD-98-92, September 23, 1998). 11
Information Security: Strengthened Management Needed to Protect
Critical Federal Operations and Assets (GAO/T-AIMD-98-312,
September 23, 1998). 12 See footnotes 6 and 7, respectively.

Clinger- Cohen Act, and the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity
Act, as well as information security initiatives underway at
organizations such as the CIO Council. We said that many of the
existing organizations and those created by PDD 63 appeared to
have overlapping objectives and that, accordingly, it was
especially important that a governmentwide strategy be developed
that clearly defined and coordinated the roles of new and existing
federal entities in order to avoid inappropriate duplication of
effort and ensure governmentwide cooperation and support.
Specifically, we recommended that the Director of OMB and the
Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs ensure
that the various existing and newly initiated efforts to improve
federal information security are coordinated under a comprehensive
strategy. We suggested that such a strategy  ensure that executive
agencies are carrying out the responsibilities outlined in laws
and regulations requiring them to protect the security of their
information resources;

 clearly delineate the roles of the various federal organizations
with responsibilities related to information security;  identify
and rank the most significant information security issues facing

federal agencies;  promote information security risk awareness
among senior agency officials whose critical operations rely on
automated systems;

 identify and promote proven security tools, techniques, and
management best practices;  ensure the adequacy of information
technology workforce skills;  ensure that the security of both
financial and nonfinancial systems is adequately evaluated on a
regular basis;

 include long- term goals and objectives, including time frames,
priorities, and annual performance goals; and  provide for
periodically evaluating agency performance from a

governmentwide perspective and acting to address shortfalls. In
November 1998, key officials in OMB, the National Security
Council, the FBI, the CIO Council, and the Year 2000 Office held a
joint meeting and assured us that they were coordinating their
efforts. Since then, we have

observed many instances of cooperation and joint efforts. However,
a strategy for improving federal information security has not yet
been clearly articulated.

Broader Risks to Critical While the federal government has
traditionally focused on the security of Infrastructures its own
systems, there has been a growing realization in recent years that
our national welfare, including government services and national
defense, depends to a large extent on systems supporting privately
controlled

infrastructures. This concern has been emphasized by the Year 2000
challenge as many agencies and private- sector organizations have
been forced to recognize their dependence on computer systems
beyond their

span of control. Over the past few years, such risks and the need
to adjust the way we view and protect our nation's information
systems have been described in a variety of reports and
testimonies before the Congress. The following chronology provides
an overview of this growing concern.  A 1994 Joint Security
Commission report warned that computer

networks are a battlefield of the future and that the risk was not
limited to military systems. According to the Commission, if an
enemy attacked our unprotected civilian infrastructure (for
example, the public telephone system), the economic and other
results could be disastrous. 13  In 1996, the Director of Central
Intelligence stated that there is evidence

that a number of countries are developing the doctrine,
strategies, and tools to conduct information attacks and that
international terrorists groups clearly have the capability to
attack the information infrastructure of the United States. The
Director's greatest concern was that hackers, terrorists, or other
nations could use information warfare techniques as part of a
coordinated attack to seriously disrupt electric power
distribution, air traffic control, or financial sectors. 14  In
October 1997, the President's Commission on Critical
Infrastructure

Protection issued a comprehensive report on our nation's
computerrelated vulnerabilities that described the potentially
devastating implications of poor information security from a
national perspective. 15

13 Redefining Security, A Report to the Secretary of Defense and
the Director of Central Intelligence from the Joint Security
Commission, February 28, 1994. 14 Statement for the Record by the
Director of Central Intelligence to the U. S. Senate Committee on
Governmental Affairs, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations,
Foreign Information Warfare Programs and Capabilities, June 25,
1996.

15 Critical Foundations: Protecting America's Infrastructures, The
Report of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure
Protection, October 1997.

 In March 1998, the Chief of the National Infrastructure
Protection Center (NIPC), Federal Bureau of Investigation,
testified that transnational criminals are rapidly becoming aware
of and exploiting the power of cyber tools and that recent
computer crimes illustrate the growing problem of cyber crime, the
international dimension of the problem, and the increasing threat
to our critical infrastructure. According to the Chief, one
example that illustrates the growing problem is the 1994 case
where foreign crime groups hacked into a major financial service
company's cash management system and attempted transfers totaling
$10 million. 16

 In releasing a December 1998 report on cyberwarfare and crime
prepared by a panel of current and former U. S. national security
officials, former FBI and Central Intelligence Agency Director
William Webster stated that it is time for us to recognize that we
have a range of enemies today, not only military enemies, but
criminals and terrorists

and others who have the same capabilities to do major damage to
the infrastructure upon which we all depend. 17  In May 1998, the
President, through PDD 63, directed that a national

plan on infrastructure protection be developed and addressed a
range of other infrastructure protection issues.  In June 1998 and
in February 1999, the Director for Central Intelligence testified
that several nations recognize that cyber attacks against civilian
computer systems represent an option they could use to level the
playing field during an armed crisis against the United States,
and they are developing information warfare capabilities. He added
that terrorists and others were beginning to recognize that
information warfare offers them low cost, easily hidden tools to
support their

causes. 18 16 Statement for the Record, Deputy Assistant Director
and Chief, National Infrastructure Protection Center, Federal
Bureau of Investigation, before the Congressional Joint Economic
Committee, March 24, 1998.

17 Cybercrime, Cyberterrorism, and Cyberwarfare: Averting an
Electronic Waterloo, The Center for Strategic and International
Studies, December 15, 1999. 18 Testimony by Director for Central
Intelligence before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs,
June 24, 1998, and before the Senate Armed Services Committee,
February 2, 1999.

 In March 1999, the National Communications Systems (NCS), an
interagency committee formed to examine communication networks and
institute change, reported that adversaries could disrupt,
disable, or collect sensitive data through coordinated attacks on
U. S. computer systems and that organized crime groups are
targeting such systems to commit fraud, acquire and exploit
proprietary information, and steal funds and securities
transmitted through electronic commerce systems. 19

These reports and statements have focused attention on the issues
associated with infrastructure protection, particularly
vulnerabilities to critical operations and our national defense.
They have also prompted the start of a national debate regarding
the appropriate mix of public and private actions and types of
mechanisms needed to better define and address these risks.
Critical Infrastructure As the President's Commission on Critical
Infrastructure Protection Protection Requires a recognized in its
October 1997 report, mitigating the shared risks resulting from
our computer- based interdependencies will require shared, or
jointly New Approach

developed, solutions. Just as it is no longer satisfactory for
individual organizations to address their computer security risks
solely on a systemby- system basis, neither can individual
organizations fully protect their operations without considering
risks associated with systems they use or depend on that are
controlled by others. Such systems can include those of business
partners, public utilities, and government entities in essence,
any system on which an organization relies for essential services,
information, or business transactions. In response to the
Commission's report, the executive branch initiated efforts to
implement a cooperative public- private approach to protecting our
critical infrastructures by issuing PDD 63 in May 1998. PDD 63
calls for

a range of actions intended to improve federal agency security
programs, establish a partnership between the government and the
private sector, and improve our nation's ability to detect and
respond to serious attacks. As described previously, to accomplish
these goals, the directive (1) established a National Coordinator
for Security, Infrastructure 19 The Electronic Intrusion Threat to
National Security and Emergency Preparedness (NS/ EP)
Telecommunications: An Awareness Document, Third Edition, National
Communications System, March 1999.

Protection and Counter- Terrorism who is to report to the
President through the Assistant to the President for National
Security Affairs and (2) created new entities within the
Department of Commerce and the FBI. In addition, it assigned
agencies new responsibilities for coordinating with industry
sectors and developing critical infrastructure protection plans.

A central requirement of PDD 63 is development of a National
Infrastructure Assurance Plan. As of late August 1999, officials
involved in developing the plan estimated that it would be issued
in late October 1999. Such a plan is important because it can
provide a roadmap to guide the activities of the many federal
entities involved in critical infrastructure protection. In
particular the plan can provide for

 defining and ranking risks to help ensure that attention and
resources are focused on reducing the most significant
vulnerabilities,  designating roles and responsibilities,
developing a plan of action for addressing the most significant
risks

first, and  monitoring progress and measuring performance.
Defining and Ranking Risks PDD 63 identified industry sectors and
federal agencies that are important to critical infrastructure
protection. However, a more detailed analysis is needed to
determine the greatest specific risks, the most critical systems
and interdependencies, and the improvement efforts that merit the
earliest

and greatest attention. Such an analysis and identification of
risk needs to be done within individual organizations and agencies
as well as across industry groups and government agencies in order
to identify critical interdependencies. Without a prioritized
lists of such factors, or a plan for developing such information,
it will not be possible to determine what protective actions are
needed and which should be undertaken first. Designating Roles and
Many agencies have responsibilities related to computer security
that Responsibilities

overlap somewhat with new critical infrastructure protection
initiatives. For example, under current laws, federal agencies are
primarily responsible for adequately securing their own
operations, OMB is responsible for overseeing and coordinating
federal agency security, and NIST with assistance from the
National Security Agency (NSA) is responsible for establishing
related standards. In addition, since its establishment in 1996,
the CIO Council has undertaken activities in this area. It is
important that the roles of these organizations as they relate to

critical infrastructure protection be well defined and coordinated
with those of newer entities established by PDD 63 within the
National Security Council, the Department of Commerce, and the
FBI. Developing a Plan of Action Once specific risks and
interdependencies have been identified and ranked, an action plan
can be developed to address them. To be most effective,

such a plan should define specific objectives, estimate needed
resources, and provide a schedule of activities. During the 15
months since PDD 63's issuance, a variety of activities have
begun. Twenty- one federal agencies, identified as the most
important to critical infrastructure protection, have submitted
critical infrastructure

protection plans and received at least one round of comments from
an expert review team managed by the Critical Infrastructure
Assurance Office, which was established by PDD 63 in the
Department of Commerce. In addition, the General Services
Administration, OMB, the CIO Council, NIST, and others have either
engaged in cooperative efforts with the

entities established by PDD 63 or reoriented or supplemented
ongoing activities to support PDD 63 goals. Examples include the
following:  The CIO Council's security committee created a sub-
group for providing input on critical infrastructure protection
efforts.  The Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office is
assisting in establishing the Information Coordination Center,
which will monitor events surrounding January 1, 2000.  NIST and
NSA are leading an effort to identify and evaluate standards

and best practices for information security.  The FBI established
the National Infrastructure Protection Center, in 1998, to
facilitate and coordinate the federal government's investigation
and response to attacks on critical infrastructures.

However, these efforts are not yet being coordinated under a
comprehensive plan. As a result, there is a risk that these
efforts will be unfocused, inefficient, and ineffective. For
example, the CIO Council

Security Committee and a recently established working group both
have efforts underway to identify standards and best practices
that could improve federal agency efforts. While such efforts are
generally laudable, it is unclear how the guidance that may result
from them will relate to guidance issued by NIST and policies
issued by OMB, two organizations that have statutory
responsibilities in these areas.

Monitoring Progress and Once a plan of action has been developed
and agreed on, it must be Measuring Performance implemented.
Ensuring effective implementation will require monitoring

and evaluation to determine if milestones are being met and
testing to determine if measures to protect critical
infrastructures are operating as intended. Evaluations at several
levels can be beneficial. A program to periodically test and
evaluate agency controls would provide agency managers with the
information they need to determine if controls are operating
effectively on an ongoing basis and whether adjustments to agency
policies and procedures are needed. Evaluations by agency
inspectors general or outside auditors can serve as an independent
check on management evaluations. However, the emphasis should be
on evaluations initiated by management, since computer security is
a fundamental, ongoing management responsibility. Summary
evaluations performed by entities such as OMB, GAO, or the CIO
Council can provide a governmentwide view of progress and help
identify crosscutting problems. Year 2000 Efforts

While the challenge of protecting our critical infrastructures is
different in Provide Important many ways from addressing the Year
2000 challenge, there are significant similarities. Critical
infrastructure protection will raise many issues beyond Insights
for Critical those raised in addressing the Year 2000 problem,
such as those pertaining Infrastructure to the role of government
in ensuring protection of privately controlled Protection

infrastructures and how best to balance security needs with
business and individual privacy. However, both challenges involve
threats to critical computer- dependent operations, and both
require actions by and cooperation among public and private sector
entities. While it is too early to comprehensively identify
lessons learned from the

Year 2000 conversion efforts, we identified a number of factors
from the Year 2000 experience that are relevant to longer term
critical infrastructure protection and provide insights into the
challenges ahead. In some areas, the Year 2000 problem has laid a
foundation for longer term improvements in the way we view,
manage, and protect computer systems supporting our nation's
critical infrastructures. These areas include

 providing high- level congressional and executive branch
leadership,  understanding risks to computer- supported
operations,  providing adequate technical expertise,  providing
standard guidance,

 establishing public- private sector relationships,  facilitating
progress and monitoring performance,  developing an incident
identification and coordination capability, and  implementing
fundamental information technology management improvements.

These factors, which are discussed below, should be considered
when developing a national strategy for critical infrastructure
protection.

Providing Congressional One of the most important factors in
prompting attention and action on the

and Executive Branch Year 2000 problem has been proactive
leadership at the highest levels of Leadership government. In
February 1998, the President signed an executive order

establishing the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion,
chaired by an Assistant to the President and consisting of one
representative from each of the executive departments and from
other federal agencies as may be determined by the chair. The
Council has focused attention on the problem and provided a forum
for high- level communication among leaders in government, the
private sector, and the international community. A similar entity,
the Critical Infrastructure Coordination Group, was established by
PDD 63. However, as yet, it has not had the same level of
visibility as the Council on Year 2000 Conversion or as broad a
level of agency participation.

In addition to executive branch leadership, congressional
leadership has been important in addressing the Year 2000
challenge and can serve as a model for long- term critical
infrastructure protection. The Senate formed a Special Committee
on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, which held numerous hearings
on the readiness of key economic sectors, including

power, health care, telecommunications, transportation, financial
services, emergency services, and general business. Similarly, the
House called on the Subcommittee on Government Management,
Information and Technology of the Committee on Government Reform
and the Subcommittee on Technology of the Committee on Science to
co- chair the House's Year 2000 monitoring. These and other
congressional committees and subcommittees have played a central
role in addressing the Year 2000 challenge by holding agencies
accountable for demonstrating progress and by heightening public
appreciation of the problem. Understanding Risks According to
officials involved in Year 2000 conversion efforts, the Year

2000 challenge has served as a wake- up call to many who were
previously

unaware of our nation's extensive dependency on computers. This
new awareness of the importance of computer systems and of the
vulnerabilities of these systems can serve as a basis for better
understanding long- term risks to computer- supported critical
infrastructures. In addition, Year 2000 efforts have forced
agencies to identify those systems that are mission- critical.

At the governmentwide level, OMB identified 43 high- impact
programs and designated a lead agency for each program. Each lead
agency was directed to identify the partners integral to program
delivery and take a lead role in convening those partners and
ensuring that they had adequate Year 2000

plans. For those without plans, agencies were to help develop a
plan to ensure that the related program would operate effectively.
These are important first steps for critical infrastructure
protection because they provide organizations, industry groups,
and government sectors a basis for helping to ensure that their
most significant risks are addressed first. However, unlike the
Year 2000 problem, critical infrastructure protection will be an
ongoing challenge. Because risks and related system priorities
change over time, as do the techniques for mitigating risks,
infrastructure protection will require organizations to
institutionalize the practices of inventorying and prioritizing
their systems

through periodic risk assessments. Our recent study of information
security risk assessment practices at leading organizations
provides guidance that agencies can use to develop a practical
risk assessment program. 20 20 Information Security Risk
Assessment: Practices of Leading Organizations (Exposure Draft)
(GAO/AIMD-99-139, August 1999).

Providing Adequate In April 1998, we noted that some agencies were
reporting problems Technical Expertise obtaining and retaining
personnel with the technical expertise needed to accomplish Year
2000 conversions. Accordingly, we recommended that the

Council for Year 2000 Conversion develop a personnel strategy that
would include reemploying former federal employees and identifying
ways to retain key Year 2000 staff. 21 In October 1998, we
reported that several efforts had been undertaken to address these
workforce issues. 22 Some of these illustrate the types of
creative solutions that can be considered to solve specific
personnel problems. Others serve as a basis for further
improvements that could benefit critical infrastructure
protection, as well as other information technology management
issues. To address information technology workforce shortages that
agencies said were impeding their ability to make Year 2000
conversions, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) publicized
existing tools for retaining staff and supplemented these with
additional aids. The tools that were

publicized included  providing authority to reemploy federal
retirees to work specifically on the Year 2000 conversion without
the usually required reduction in the retiree's salary or military
annuity;  encouraging agency heads to exercise their authority to
make exceptions to limitations on premium pay (including overtime,
night, and holiday pay) for employees performing emergency work to
resolve computer system problems associated with the Year 2000
that posed a

direct threat to life and property;  allowing agencies, in certain
circumstances and with OPM approval, to exclude critical Year 2000
positions from voluntary early retirement programs; and  allowing
agencies to authorize a retention allowance of up to 10 percent of
an employee's rate of basic pay (or up to 25 percent with OPM

approval) for a group or category of employees such as computer
programmers and system engineers that meet certain criteria, such
as being likely to leave federal service in the absence of the
allowance. 21 Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Potential for Widespread
Disruption Calls for Strong Leadership and Partnerships (GAO/AIMD-
98-85, April 30, 1998).

22 Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Status of Efforts to Deal With
Personnel Issues (GAO/ AIMD/ GGD- 99- 14, October 22, 1998).

In addition, as we reported in October 1998, the Year 2000
Conversion Council took several steps to address personnel
shortages from a nationwide perspective. These included (1)
establishing an Internet site to link information technology
workers with the companies that need them to solve the Year 2000
problem and (2) surveying community colleges to

determine the effect of workforce issues on local communities.
Perhaps most importantly for the long term and prompted in part by
concerns over technical staff shortages affecting Year 2000
efforts, the CIO Council, in March 1998, tasked its Education and
Training committee with crafting recommendations for actions to
help agencies recruit and retain information technology personnel.
The final report was issued in June 1999, generally too late to
provide substantive support for the Year 2000

efforts. However, the report provides an extensive description of
the current status of federal information technology employment,
improvement efforts currently underway, and detailed proposals for
action that are associated with 13 major recommendations. In this
regard, the

report provides a useful basis for improving the federal
information technology workforce as a whole, including that
segment needed to support critical infrastructure protection
efforts. Providing Standard Standard guidance that was universally
accepted, adopted, and Guidance

implemented has facilitated Year 2000 conversion efforts and
related oversight. In particular, guidance issued from 1997
through 1999 by GAO, OMB, and the CIO Council has  provided a
level of consistency across government by providing standard
terms, tools, and techniques based on best practices;  imposed
structure and discipline;  increased the rigor of testing and
assessment efforts;  promoted consistency in data gathering and
reporting; and  facilitated audit and evaluation efforts by both
agency management and auditors.

To help agencies mitigate their Year 2000 risks, we produced a
series of Year 2000 guides that were adopted by OMB. The first of
these, on enterprise readiness, provides a systematic, step- by-
step approach for agency planning and management of its Year 2000
program. 23 The second, on business continuity and contingency
planning, provides a structured approach to helping agencies
ensure minimum levels of service through proper planning. 24 Our
third guide sets forth a disciplined approach to Year 2000
testing. 25 Federal agencies and other organizations have used
these guides extensively to help organize and manage their Year
2000 programs. In addition, an interagency working group (which
later evolved into the CIO Council's Year 2000 Committee)
developed a best practices guide for

Year 2000 conversion and made it available on the World Wide Web.
Similar guides could be developed for critical infrastructure
protection. These could be based to a large extent on existing
guides pertaining to various aspects of computer security. For
example, since May 1998, we have issued two guides on information
security management and risk assessment practices that can be
applied to critical infrastructure

protection as well as a broader range of information security
risks. In addition, since May 1997, OMB has provided agencies with
instructions on reporting on their quarterly Year 2000 progress.
These instructions covered items such as Year 2000 remediation
progress, data exchanges, and costs. OMB periodically updated
these instructions to request that agencies provide additional
information on key topics such as verification actions or to
clarify existing reporting requirements. Establishing Public-
Private

Like the Year 2000 problem, the challenge of protecting critical
Sector Relationships infrastructures from computer- based attacks
extends well beyond federal operations. It spans the entire
spectrum of our national, as well as the global, economy. Many
critical infrastructure facilities are owned and operated by
private companies whose continued secure operations are

23 Year 2000 Computing Crisis: An Assessment Guide (GAO/ AIMD-
10.1.14, issued as an exposure draft in February 1997 and in final
form in September 1997). 24 Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Business
Continuity and Contingency Planning (GAO/ AIMD10.1.19, issued as
an exposure draft in March 1998 and in final form in August 1998).
25 Year 2000 Computing Crisis: A Testing Guide (GAO/ AIMD-
10.1.21, issued as an exposure draft in June 1998 and in final
form in November 1998).

essential to the national welfare-as well as government services.
As a result, establishing public- private partnerships has been
recognized as one of the major challenges of critical
infrastructure protection.

The Year 2000 challenge has provided a basis on which to build by
establishing relationships that can serve as the beginning of such
partnerships. It was essential that Year 2000 issues be adequately
addressed in arenas beyond the federal government: state and local
governments, the public infrastructure, and other key economic
sectors, such as financial services. This is because a single
failure in one system could affect many others in our nation's
complex array of public and private enterprises that have scores
of system interdependencies at all levels. To address these
concerns, we recommended in April 1998 that the President's
Council on Year 2000 Conversion use a sector- based approach

and establish the effective public- private partnerships necessary
to address this issue. 26 The Council subsequently established
over 25 sector- based working groups and has been initiating
outreach activities since it became operational in Spring 1998.
Similar sectors and agency focal points were designated by PDD 63.

In addition, the Chair of the President's Council has formed a
Senior Advisors Group composed of representatives from private-
sector firms across key economic sectors. Members of this group
are expected to offer perspectives on crosscutting issues,
information sharing, and appropriate

federal responses to potential Year 2000 failures. In July 1999,
the President directed establishment of a similar advisory group
for critical infrastructure protection. The National
Infrastructure Assurance Council, authorized by Executive Order
13130, is to have 30 members from private industry who are
expected to be designated by late 1999. This new Council is to
support a coordinated effort by both government and private sector
entities to address threats to our Nation's critical
infrastructure. It will be important for it to take advantage of
the public- private relationships already established.

Our April 1998 report also recommended that the President's
Council on Year 2000 Conversion develop a comprehensive picture of
the nation's Year 2000 readiness that would identify and assess
risks to the nation's key 26 Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Potential
for Widespread Disruption Calls for Strong Leadership and
Partnerships (GAO/AIMD-98-85, April 30, 1998).

economic sectors-including risks posed by international links. In
October 1998, the Chair directed the Council's sector working
groups to begin assessing their sectors. Accordingly, the Council
and federal agencies have partnered with private- sector
organizations, such as the North American Electric Reliability
Council, to gather information critical to the nation's Year 2000
efforts and to address issues such as contingency planning. To
date, the Council has issued three national assessments, most
recently on August 5, 1999. These assessment reports have
substantially increased the

nation's understanding of the Year 2000 readiness of key
industries. A similar approach could be used to evaluate longer
term risks to our critical infrastructures and provide much-
needed pathways for information sharing.

Facilitating Progress and Both the executive branch and the
Congress have developed techniques to Monitoring Performance

facilitate and monitor performance in addressing Year 2000
conversion efforts. During 1997, OMB instituted a quarterly
reporting routine to facilitate monitoring of agency progress in
making their critical systems Year 2000 compliant. Between mid-
1997 and early 1999, OMB placed each of the 24 major agencies into
one of three tiers according to OMB's judgment regarding each
agency's progress as described in their quarterly reports. As yet,
no such routine reporting mechanism exists to monitor agency
performance in strengthening computer security or critical
infrastructure protection. However, as discussed previously, the
Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office is reviewing agency
infrastructure protection plans. Once these plans are judged
acceptable, it will be important to monitor their implementation
on a regular basis.

In addition, many congressional committees actively monitored
progress by holding hearings to obtain information on the Year
2000 readiness of federal agencies, states, localities, and other
important nonfederal entities, such as the securities industry.
The House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and
Technology of the Committee on Government Reform developed a
report card system for periodically grading agencies on their
progress. In addition, to facilitate remediation at federal
agencies, the Congress passed and the President signed the Omnibus
Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999,
which included $3.35 billion in contingent emergency funding for
Year 2000 conversion activities. In commenting on a draft of this
report, the Chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000
Conversion said that the availability of this funding

was of great assistance to agencies during the last 15 months of
their conversion efforts and allowed them to fund Year 2000
conversion needs discovered late in the process. The Chairman
noted that the situation regarding information security is
somewhat different because those efforts

will be ongoing rather than tied to a known completion date.
Accordingly, agencies should be able to plan to include in their
budgets sufficient funding for information security. An
alternative view was expressed by the Chairman of the CIO Council
Subcommittee on Critical Infrastructure Protection who stated that
CIOs would have serious problems implementing PDD 63 without
supplemental funding similar to that provided to help resolve the
Year 2000 problem.

Developing an Incident To monitor and report on events associated
with the Year 2000 date Identification and rollover, the President
directed establishment of an Information Coordination Capability

Coordination Center (ICC). The ICC is to serve as the federal
government's central point for coordinating information provided
during the Year 2000 transition by government emergency operations
centers and the private sector. The center will be staffed with
subject matter experts detailed from federal agencies who will be
expected to integrate data received into national and
international status reports. In this and other ways, the ICC will
be expected to highlight information of interest to individual
agencies, provide information to the public, and respond to
inquiries.

It is currently too early to determine how successful the ICC will
be. However, those involved in establishing it are discussing
issues that are also pertinent to critical infrastructure
protection, such as the amount and type of data the center needs
to collect and how this data should be summarized and reported.
Implementing Information

Addressing the Year 2000 problem has highlighted the importance of
good Technology Management information technology management and,
to date, demonstrated that the Improvements

government will likely approach future information technology
challenges better prepared. The Year 2000 problem has resulted in
many agencies taking charge of their information technology
resources in much more

active ways than they have in the past, from inventorying and
prioritizing systems to implementing reliable processes and better
controls. In particular, it has prompted some agencies to
establish much- needed information technology policies in areas
such as system configuration management, risk management, and
software testing. In addition, Year 2000 efforts have reinforced
an understanding of the importance of consistent

and persistent top management attention, which is essential to
solving any intractable problem. For the Year 2000 problem, this
has been illustrated by the work, to date, of the President's
Council on Year 2000 Conversion and

its senior- level chairman. Such attention from senior federal
executives will be important to help ensure that information
security and critical infrastructure protection are taken
seriously at lower organizational levels

and that security specialists have the resources they need to
implement an effective program. According to officials at OMB, the
Year 2000 problem also gave agency CIOs a crash course in how to
accomplish projects. Many CIOs were relatively new in their
positions, due to a requirement for agency CIOs in the Clinger-
Cohen Act of 1996. Expediting Year 2000 efforts required many

of them to quickly gain an understanding of their agency's
systems, work extensively with agency program managers and Chief
Financial Officers, and become familiar with budgeting and
financial management practices. Conclusions The challenges
associated with the Year 2000 date conversion problem are examples
of the broader and longer term challenges that our nation faces in
protecting our computer- supported critical infrastructures from
hostile

attacks. While differences exist, many of the efforts that have
been undertaken to manage and remedy the Year 2000 problem can
also be applied to these longer term challenges. Through PDD 63,
the executive branch has initiated steps to address critical
infrastructure protection and encourage private- sector
involvement. As these efforts continue, they can benefit from many
of the experiences gained during the Year 2000 conversion period.
Some of these lessons are already apparent. However, it is likely
that others will emerge as the Year 2000 transition period
unfolds. Accordingly, we are making no recommendations at this
time. Agency Comments We provided a draft of this report and
solicited informal comments from a variety of officials who have
been involved in Year 2000 and critical infrastructure protection
efforts. We received oral and electronic mail

comments from the Chairman of the Council on Year 2000 Conversion;
the Co- Chairs of the CIO Council's Security Committee, one of
whom is Chair of the Subcommittee on Critical Infrastructure
Protection; officials in the Critical Information Assurance
Office; and numerous federal agency CIOs. Overall, these officials
agreed with the points made in the report, and some

provided supporting illustrations from their own experience. We
have noted the most significant comments in applicable segments of
the report.

As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce the
contents of this report earlier, we will not distribute it until 5
days from the date of this report. At that time, we will send
copies to Senator Christopher Dodd,

Vice- Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000
Technology Problem; Senator Fred Thompson, Chairman, and Senator
Joseph Lieberman, Ranking Minority Member, Senate Committee on
Governmental Affairs; Representative Steven Horn, Chairman,
Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology,
House Committee on Government Reform; and Representative Constance

Morella, Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Technology, House Committee
on Science. In addition, we are providing copies to John Koskinen,
Chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion;
Richard Clarke, National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure
Protection and CounterTerrorism; the Honorable Jacob Lew,
Director, Office of Management and Budget; John Tritak, Director,
Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office; Michael Vatis, Director,
National Infrastructure Protection Center, FBI; Deidre Lee and
James Flyzik, Chair and Vice- Chair, respectively, of the CIO
Council; and other interested parties. Copies will be made
available to others upon request. If you have any questions on
matters discussed in this letter, please contact me at (202) 512-
2600, or Jack L. Brock, Director, Governmentwide and Defense
Information Systems, at (202) 512- 6240. Sincerely yours,

Jeffrey C. Steinhoff Acting Assistant Comptroller General

Appendi I x Objectives, Scope, and Methodology The objectives of
our work were to (1) summarize our recent findings on computer
security and critical infrastructure protection and (2) suggest
improvements that build on lessons learned from the Year 2000 date
conversion experience.

To summarize our recent findings, we analyzed our reports on
computer security issued during fiscal year 1999. In addition, we
reviewed findings pertaining to computer security issues
associated with the fiscal year 1998 financial statement audits of
the 24 federal departments and agencies covered by the CFO Act.
These agencies account for 98 percent of the total reported
federal net outlays for fiscal year 1998. In analyzing reported
findings, we categorized them into six basic areas of general
control as described by the Federal Information System Controls
Audit Manual (FISCAM), which contains guidance for reviewing
information system

controls that affect the integrity, confidentiality, and
availability of computerized data associated with federal agency
operations. These six areas include entitywide security program
management and planning, access control, application program
change control, segregation of duties, operating systems security,
and service continuity. We supplemented this analysis with
information that we obtained by reviewing key reports and
statements issued since 1994 on critical infrastructure
protection. These

reports and statements are cited in footnotes throughout this
report. To develop suggested improvements that build on lessons
learned from the Year 2000 conversion experience, we analyzed our
reports issued since February 1997 on efforts to address the Year
2000 problem and met with key officials leading federal efforts
related to the Year 2000 problem and critical infrastructure
protection. These officials included the Director of the Critical
Infrastructure Assurance Office, the Chairman of the

President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, officials at the
Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Infrastructure
Protection Center, and policy analysts at the Office of Management
and Budget involved in overseeing federal Year 2000 conversion
efforts and information security.

We provided a draft of this report and solicited informal comments
from a variety of officials who have been involved in Year 2000
and critical infrastructure protection efforts. We received oral
and electronic mail comments from the Chairman of the Council on
Year 2000 Conversion; the Co- Chairs of the CIO Council's Security
Committee, one of whom is Chair of the Subcommittee on Critical
Infrastructure Protection; and officials in the Critical
Information Assurance Office. We considered these comments and
noted the most signficant ones in pertinent segments of the
report.

We performed the majority of our review during August and
September 1999 in accordance with generally accepted government
auditing standards.

GAO Reports and Testimonies Addressing Information Security Issues
Since

Appendi I I x February 1996 Federal Reserve Banks: Areas for
Improvement in Computer Controls (GAO/AIMD-99-280, September 15,
1999). Information Security: NRC's Computer Intrusion Detection
Capabilities (GAO/AIMD-99-273R, August 27, 1999). DOD Information
Security: Serious Weaknesses Continue To Place Defense Operations
at Risk (GAO/AIMD-99-107, August 26, 1999). Battlefield
Automation: Opportunities to Improve the Army's Information
Protection Effort (GAO/NSIAD-99-166, August 11, 1999). Information
Security: Answers to Post- hearing Questions (GAO/AIMD-99-272R,
August 9, 1999). Bureau of the Public Debt: Areas for Improvement
in Computer Controls (GAO/AIMD-99-242, August 6, 1999).

Information Security Risk Assessment: Practices of Leading
Organizations (Exposure draft) (GAO/AIMD-99-139, August 1999).
USDA Information Security: Weaknesses at National Finance Center
Increase Risk of Fraud, Misuse, and Improper Disclosure (GAO/AIMD-
99-227, July 30, 1999).

Information Security: Recent Attacks on Federal Web Sites
Underscore Need for Stronger Information Security Management
(GAO/T-AIMD-99-223, June 24, 1999).

VA Information Systems: The Austin Automation Center Has Made
Progress in Improving Information System Controls (GAO/AIMD-99-
161, June 8, 1999).

Information Security: Many NASA Mission- Critical Systems Face
Serious Risks (GAO/AIMD-99-47, May 20, 1999). Department of
Energy: Key Factors Underlying Security Problems at DOE Facilities
(GAO/T-RCED-99-159, April 20, 1999). Information Security: The
Melissa Computer Virus Demonstrates Urgent Need for Stronger
Protection over Systems and Sensitive Data (GAO/T-AIMD-99-146,
April 15, 1999).

Financial Audit: 1998 Financial Statements of the United States
Government (GAO/AIMD-99-130, March 31, 1999). Securities Fraud:
The Internet Poses Challenges to Regulators and Investors (GAO/T-
GGD-99-34, March 22, 1999). IRS Systems Security: Although
Significant Improvements Made, Tax Processing Operations and Data
Still at Serious Risk (GAO/AIMD-99-38, December 14, 1998).
Financial Management Service: Areas for Improvement in Computer
Controls (GAO/AIMD-99-10, October 20, 1998).

Federal Reserve Banks: Areas for Improvement in Computer Controls
(GAO/AIMD-99-6, October 14, 1998). Bureau of the Public Debt:
Areas for Improvement in Computer Controls (GAO/AIMD-99-2, October
14, 1998). Financial Management: Improvements Needed in Air Force
Vendor Payment Systems and Controls (GAO/AIMD-98-274, September
28, 1998). Information Security: Serious Weaknesses Place Critical
Federal Operations and Assets at Risk (GAO/AIMD-98-92, September
23, 1998).

Information Security: Strengthened Management Needed to Protect
Critical Federal Operations and Assets (GAO/T-AIMD-98-312,
September 23, 1998). VA Information Systems: Computer Control
Weaknesses Increase Risk of Fraud, Misuse and Improper Disclosure
(GAO/AIMD-98-175, September 23, 1998).

Defense Information Superiority: Progress Made, but Significant
Challenges Remain (GAO/ NSIAD/ AIMD- 98- 257, August 31, 1998).
FAA Systems: Serious Challenges Remain in Resolving Year 2000 and
Computer Security Problems (GAO/T-AIMD-98-251, August 6, 1998).
DOD's Information Assurance Efforts (GAO/NSIAD-98-132R, June 11,
1998).

Information Security: Serious Weaknesses Put State Department and
FAA Operations at Risk (GAO/T-AIMD-98-170, May 19, 1998). Computer
Security: Pervasive, Serious Weaknesses Jeopardize State
Department Operations (GAO/AIMD-98-145, May 18, 1998).

Air Traffic Control: Weak Computer Security Practices Jeopardize
Flight Safety (GAO/AIMD-98-155, May 18, 1998). Executive Guide:
Information Security Management: Learning From Leading
Organizations (GAO/AIMD-98-68, May 1998). U. S. Government
Financial Statements: Results of GAO's Fiscal Year 1997

Audit (GAO/T-AIMD-98-128, April 1, 1998). Financial Audit: 1997
Consolidated Financial Statements of the United States Government
(GAO/AIMD-98-127, March 31, 1998). Financial Audit: Examination of
IRS' Fiscal Year 1996 Custodial Financial Statements (GAO/AIMD-98-
18, December 24, 1997). Financial Management: Review of the
Military Retirement Trust Fund's Actuarial Model and Related
Computer Controls (GAO/AIMD-97-128, September 9, 1997).

Financial Audit: Examination of IRS' Fiscal Year 1996
Administrative Financial Statements (GAO/AIMD-97-89, August 29,
1997). Small Business Administration: Better Planning and Controls
Needed for

Information Systems (GAO/AIMD-97-94, June 27, 1997). Social
Security Administration: Internet Access to Personal Earnings and
Benefits Information (GAO/ T- AIMD/ HEHS- 97- 123, May 6, 1997).

Budget Process: Comments on S. 261- Biennial Budgeting and
Appropriations Act (GAO/T-AIMD-97-84, April 23, 1997). IRS Systems
Security and Funding: Employee Browsing Not Being Addressed
Effectively and Budget Requests for New Systems Development Not
Justified (GAO/T-AIMD-97-82, April 15, 1997).

IRS Systems Security: Tax Processing Operations and Data Still at
Risk Due to Serious Weaknesses (GAO/T-AIMD-97-76, April 10, 1997).

IRS Systems Security: Tax Processing Operations and Data Still at
Risk Due to Serious Weaknesses (GAO/AIMD-97-49, April 8, 1997).

High Risk Series: Information Management and Technology (GAO/HR-
97-9, February 1997). Information Security: Opportunities for
Improved OMB Oversight of Agency Practices (GAO/AIMD-96-110,
September 24, 1996). 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 Hacker Information Available on the
Internet (GAO/T-AIMD-96-108, June 5, 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).

Security Weaknesses at IRS' Cyberfile Data Center (GAO/AIMD-96-
85R, May 9, 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).

GAO Reports and Testimonies Addressing the Appendi x I I I Year
2000 Challenge Copies of these products are available through
GAO's home page on the Internet's World Wide Web ( http:// www.
gao. gov). Copies may also be

obtained at GAO's Document Distribution Center (700 4th St., NW
Room 1100) or by phone (202- 512- 6000) or fax (202- 512- 6061).

Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Status of the District of
Columbia's Efforts to Renovate Systems and Develop Contingency and
Continuity Plans (GAO/T-AIMD-99-297, September 24, 1999). Year
2000 Computing Challenge: The District of Columbia Cannot Reliably
Track Y2K Costs (GAO/T-AIMD-99-298, September 24, 1999).

Reported Year 2000 (Y2K) Readiness Status of 25 Large School
Districts (GAO/AIMD-99-296R, September 21, 1999). IRS' Year 2000
Efforts: Actions Are Under Way to Help Ensure That Contingency
Plans Are Complete and Consistent (GAO/GGD-99-176, September 14,
1999).

Year 2000 Computing Challenge: FAA Continues to Make Important
Strides, But Vulnerabilities Remain (GAO/T-AIMD-99-285, September
9, 1999). Year 2000 Computing Challenge: SBA Needs to Strengthen
Systems Testing to Ensure Readiness (GAO/AIMD-99-265, August 27,
1999). Nuclear Weapons: Year 2000 Status of the Nation's Nuclear
Weapons Stockpile (GAO/RCED-99-272R, August 20, 1999). Year 2000
Computing Challenge: Readiness Improving Yet Essential Actions
Remain to Ensure Delivery of Critical Services (GAO/T-AIMD-99-268,
August 17, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Important Progress Made, But Much
Work Remains to Avoid Disruption of Critical Services (GAO/T-AIMD-
99-267, August 14, 1999). Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Important
Progress Made, Yet Much Work Remains to Ensure Delivery of
Critical Services (GAO/T-AIMD-99-266, August 13, 1999). Year 2000
Computing Challenge: Agencies' Reporting of Mission- Critical
Classified Systems (GAO/AIMD-99-218, August 5, 1999).

Social Security Administration: Update on Year 2000 and Other Key
Information Technology Initiatives (GAO/T-AIMD-99-259, July 29,
1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Status of Medicare Providers Unknown
(GAO/AIMD-99-243, July 28, 1999). Reported Y2K status of the 21
Largest U. S. Cities (GAO/AIMD-99-246R, July 15, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Federal Efforts to Ensure Continued
Delivery of Key State- Administered Benefits (GAO/T-AIMD-99-241,
July 15, 1999). Emergency and State and Local Law Enforcement
Systems: Committee Questions Concerning Year 2000 Challenges
(GAO/AIMD-99-247R, July 14, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Important Progress Made, Yet Much
Work Remains to Avoid Disruption of Critical Services (GAO/T-AIMD-
99-234, July 9, 1999). Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Readiness
Improving Yet Avoiding Disruption of Critical Services Will
Require Additional Work (GAO/T-AIMD-99-233, July 8, 1999). Year
2000 Computing Challenge: Readiness Improving But Much Work
Remains to Avoid Disruption of Critical Services (GAO/T-AIMD-99-
232, July 7, 1999). Defense Computers: Management Controls Are
Critical To Effective Year 2000 Testing (GAO/AIMD-99-172, June 30,
1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Customs is Making Good Progress
(GAO/T-AIMD-99-225, June 29, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Delivery of Key Benefits Hinges on
States' Achieving Compliance (GAO/ T- AIMD/ GGD- 99- 221, June 23,
1999). Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Estimated Costs, Planned
Uses of Emergency Funding, and Future Implications (GAO/T-AIMD-99-
214, June 22, 1999).

GSA's Effort to Develop Year 2000 Business Continuity and
Contingency Plans for Telecommunications Systems (GAO/AIMD-99-
201R, June 16, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Actions Needed to Ensure Continued
Delivery of Veterans Benefits and Health Care Services (GAO/AIMD-
99-190R, June 11, 1999). Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Concerns
About Compliance Information on Biomedical Equipment (GAO/T-AIMD-
99-209, June 10, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Much Biomedical Equipment Status
Information Available, Yet Concerns Remain (GAO/T-AIMD-99-197, May
25, 1999). Year 2000 Computing Challenge: OPM Has Made Progress on
Business Continuity Planning (GAO/GGD-99-66, May 24, 1999).

VA Y2K Challenges: Responses to Post- Testimony Questions
(GAO/AIMD-99-199R, May 24, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: USDA Needs to Accelerate Time Frames
for Completing Contingency Planning (GAO/AIMD-99-178, May 21,
1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Readiness of the Oil and Gas
Industries (GAO/AIMD-99-162, May 19, 1999). Year 2000 Computing
Challenge: Time Issues Affecting the Global Positioning System
(GAO/T-AIMD-99-187, May 12, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Education Taking Needed Actions But
Work Remains (GAO/T-AIMD-99-180, May 12, 1999). Year 2000
Computing Challenge: Labor Has Progressed But Selected Systems
Remain at Risk (GAO/T-AIMD-99-179, May 12, 1999). Year 2000: State
Insurance Regulators Face Challenges in Determining Industry
Readiness (GAO/GGD-99-87, April 30, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Challenge: Status of Emergency and State and
Local Law Enforcement Systems Is Still Unknown (GAO/T-AIMD-99-163,
April 29, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Costs and Planned Use of Emergency
Funds (GAO/AIMD-99-154, April 28, 1999). Year 2000: Financial
Institution and Regulatory Efforts to Address International Risks
(GAO/GGD-99-62, April 27, 1999). Year 2000 Computing Crisis:
Readiness of Medicare and the Health Care Sector (GAO/T-AIMD-99-
160, April 27, 1999).

U. S. Postal Service: Subcommittee Questions Concerning Year 2000
Challenges Facing the Service (GAO/AIMD-99-150R, April 23, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Status of the Water Industry
(GAO/AIMD-99-151, April 21, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Key Actions Remain to Ensure Delivery
of Veterans Benefits and Health Services (GAO/T-AIMD-99-152, April
20, 1999). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Readiness Improving But
Much Work Remains To Ensure Delivery of Critical Services (GAO/T-
AIMD-99-149, April 19, 1999). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Action
Needed to Ensure Continued Delivery of Veterans Benefits and
Health Care Services (GAO/T-AIMD-99-136, April 15, 1999). Year
2000 Computing Challenge: Federal Government Making Progress But
Critical Issues Must Still Be Addressed to Minimize Disruptions
(GAO/T-AIMD-99-144, April 14, 1999). Year 2000 Computing Crisis:
Additional Work Remains to Ensure Delivery of Critical Services
(GAO/T-AIMD-99-143, April 13, 1999).

Tax Administration: IRS' Fiscal Year 2000 Budget Request and 1999
Tax Filing Season (GAO/ T- GGD/ AIMD- 99- 140, April 13, 1999).
Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Federal Reserve Has Established
Effective Year 2000 Management Controls for Internal Systems
Conversion (GAO/AIMD-99-78, April 9, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Readiness of the Electric Power
Industry (GAO/AIMD-99-114, April 6, 1999). Year 2000 Computing
Crisis: Customs Has Established Effective Year 2000 Program
Controls (GAO/AIMD-99-37, March 29, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: FAA Is Making Progress But Important
Challenges Remain (GAO/ T- AIMD/ RCED- 99- 118, March 15, 1999).
Insurance Industry: Regulators Are Less Active in Encouraging and
Validating Year 2000 Preparedness (GAO/T-GGD-99-56, March 11,
1999). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Defense Has Made Progress, But
Additional Management Controls Are Needed (GAO/T-AIMD-99-101,
March 2, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Readiness Status of the Department of
Health and Human Services (GAO/T-AIMD-99-92, February 26, 1999).
Defense Information Management: Continuing Implementation
Challenges Highlight the Need for Improvement (GAO/T-AIMD-99-93,
February 25, 1999). IRS' Year 2000 Efforts: Status and Remaining
Challenges (GAO/T-GGD-99-35, February 24, 1999).

Department of Commerce: National Weather Service Modernization and
NOAA Fleet Issues (GAO/ T- AIMD/ GGD- 99- 97, February 24, 1999).
Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Medicare and the Delivery of Health
Services Are at Risk (GAO/T-AIMD-99-89, February 24, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Readiness of State Automated Systems
That Support Federal Human Services Programs (GAO/T-AIMD-99-91,
February 24, 1999). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Customs Is
Effectively Managing Its Year 2000 Program (GAO/T-AIMD-99-85,
February 24, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Update on the Readiness of the Social
Security Administration (GAO/T-AIMD-99-90, February 24, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Challenges Still Facing the U. S.
Postal Service (GAO/T-AIMD-99-86, February 23, 1999). Year 2000
Computing Crisis: The District of Columbia Remains Behind Schedule
(GAO/T-AIMD-99-84, February 19, 1999). High- Risk Series: An
Update (GAO/HR-99-1, January 1999). Year 2000 Computing Crisis:
Status of Airports' Efforts to Deal With Date Change Problem (GAO/
RCED/ AIMD- 99- 57, January 29, 1999).

Defense Computers: DOD's Plan for Execution of Simulated Year 2000
Exercises (GAO/AIMD-99-52R, January 29, 1999).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Status of Bureau of Prisons' Year 2000
Efforts (GAO/AIMD-99-23, January 27, 1999). Year 2000 Computing
Crisis: Readiness Improving, But Much Work Remains to Avoid Major
Disruptions (GAO/T-AIMD-99-50, January 20, 1999). Year 2000
Computing Challenge: Readiness Improving, But Critical Risks
Remain (GAO/T-AIMD-99-49, January 20, 1999).

Status Information: FAA's Year 2000 Business Continuity and
Contingency Planning Efforts Are Ongoing (GAO/AIMD-99-40R,
December 4, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: A Testing Guide (GAO/ AIMD- 10.1.21,
November 1998). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Readiness of State
Automated Systems to Support Federal Welfare Programs (GAO/AIMD-
99-28, November 6, 1998). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Status of
Efforts to Deal With Personnel Issues (GAO/ AIMD/ GGD- 99- 14,
October 22, 1998). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Updated Status of
Department of Education's Information Systems (GAO/T-AIMD-99-8,
October 8, 1998). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: The District of
Columbia Faces Tremendous Challenges in Ensuring That Vital
Services Are Not Disrupted (GAO/T-AIMD-99-4, October 2, 1998).

Medicare Computer Systems: Year 2000 Challenges Put Benefits and
Services in Jeopardy (GAO/AIMD-98-284, September 28, 1998). Year
2000 Computing Crisis: Leadership Needed to Collect and
Disseminate Critical Biomedical Equipment Information (GAO/T-AIMD-
98-310, September 24, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Compliance Status of Many Biomedical
Equipment Items Still Unknown (GAO/AIMD-98-240, September 18,
1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Significant Risks Remain to Department
of Education's Student Financial Aid Systems (GAO/T-AIMD-98-302,
September 17, 1998). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Progress Made at
Department of Labor, But Key Systems at Risk (GAO/T-AIMD-98-303,
September 17, 1998). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Federal
Depository Institution Regulators Are Making Progress, But
Challenges Remain (GAO/T-AIMD-98-305, September 17, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Federal Reserve Is Acting to Ensure
Financial Institutions Are Fixing Systems But Challenges Remain
(GAO/AIMD-98-248, September 17, 1998). Responses to Questions on
FAA's Computer Security and Year 2000 Program (GAO/AIMD-98-301R,
September 14, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Severity of Problem Calls for Strong
Leadership and Effective Partnerships (GAO/T-AIMD-98-278,
September 3, 1998). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Strong Leadership
and Effective Partnerships Needed to Reduce Likelihood of Adverse
Impact (GAO/T-AIMD-98-277, September 2, 1998). Year 2000 Computing
Crisis: Strong Leadership and Effective Partnerships Needed to
Mitigate Risks (GAO/T-AIMD-98-276, September 1, 1998). Year 2000
Computing Crisis: State Department Needs To Make Fundamental
Improvements To Its Year 2000 Program (GAO/AIMD-98-162, August 28,
1998).

Year 2000 Computing: EFT 99 Is Not Expected to Affect Year 2000
Remediation Efforts (GAO/AIMD-98-272R, August 28, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Progress Made in Compliance of VA
Systems, But Concerns Remain (GAO/AIMD-98-237, August 21, 1998).
Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Avoiding Major Disruptions Will
Require Strong Leadership and Effective Partnerships (GAO/T-AIMD-
98-267, August 19, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Strong Leadership and Partnerships
Needed to Address Risk of Major Disruptions (GAO/T-AIMD-98-266,
August 17, 1998). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Strong Leadership
and Partnerships Needed to Mitigate Risk of Major Disruptions
(GAO/T-AIMD-98-262, August 13, 1998). FAA Systems: Serious
Challenges Remain in Resolving Year 2000 and Computer Security
Problems (GAO/T-AIMD-98-251, August 6, 1998). Year 2000 Computing
Crisis: Business Continuity and Contingency Planning (GAO/ AIMD-
10.1.19, August 1998). Internal Revenue Service: Impact of the IRS
Restructuring and Reform Act on Year 2000 Efforts (GAO/GGD-98-
158R, August 4, 1998).

Social Security Administration: Subcommittee Questions Concerning
Information Technology Challenges Facing the Commissioner
(GAO/AIMD-98-235R, July 10, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Actions Needed on Electronic Data
Exchanges (GAO/AIMD-98-124, July 1, 1998). Defense Computers: Year
2000 Computer Problems Put Navy Operations At Risk (GAO/AIMD-98-
150, June 30, 1998). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Testing and Other
Challenges Confronting Federal Agencies (GAO/T-AIMD-98-218, June
22, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Telecommunications Readiness Critical,
Yet Overall Status Largely Unknown (GAO/T-AIMD-98-212, June 16,
1998).

GAO Views on Year 2000 Testing Metrics (GAO/AIMD-98-217R, June 16,
1998). IRS' Year 2000 Efforts: Business Continuity Planning Needed
for Potential Year 2000 System Failures (GAO/GGD-98-138, June 15,
1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Actions Must Be Taken Now to Address
Slow Pace of Federal Progress (GAO/T-AIMD-98-205, June 10, 1998).
Defense Computers: Army Needs to Greatly Strengthen Its Year 2000
Program (GAO/AIMD-98-53, May 29, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: USDA Faces Tremendous Challenges in
Ensuring That Vital Public Services Are Not Disrupted (GAO/T-AIMD-
98-167, May 14, 1998). Securities Pricing: Actions Needed for
Conversion to Decimals (GAO/T-GGD-98-121, May 8, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Continuing Risks of Disruption to
Social Security, Medicare, and Treasury Programs (GAO/T-AIMD-98-
161, May 7, 1998).

IRS' Year 2000 Efforts: Status and Risks (GAO/T-GGD-98-123, May 7,
1998). Air Traffic Control: FAA Plans to Replace Its Host Computer
System Because Future Availability Cannot Be Assured (GAO/AIMD-98-
138R, May 1, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Potential for Widespread Disruption
Calls for Strong Leadership and Partnerships (GAO/AIMD-98-85,
April 30, 1998).

Defense Computers: Year 2000 Computer Problems Threaten DOD
Operations (GAO/AIMD-98-72, April 30, 1998).

Department of the Interior: Year 2000 Computing Crisis Presents
Risk of Disruption to Key Operations (GAO/T-AIMD-98-149, April 22,
1998).

Tax Administration: IRS' Fiscal Year 1999 Budget Request and
Fiscal Year 1998 Filing Season (GAO/ T- GGD/ AIMD- 98- 114, March
31, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Strong Leadership Needed to Avoid
Disruption of Essential Services (GAO/T-AIMD-98-117, March 24,
1998). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Federal Regulatory Efforts to
Ensure Financial Institution Systems Are Year 2000 Compliant
(GAO/T-AIMD-98-116, March 24, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Office of Thrift Supervision's Efforts
to Ensure Thrift Systems Are Year 2000 Compliant (GAO/T-AIMD-98-
102, March 18, 1998). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Strong
Leadership and Effective Public/ Private Cooperation Needed to
Avoid Major Disruptions (GAO/T-AIMD-98-101, March 18, 1998).

Post- Hearing Questions on the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation's Year 2000 (Y2K) Preparedness (GAO/AIMD-98-108R,
March 18, 1998). SEC Year 2000 Report: Future Reports Could
Provide More Detailed Information (GAO/ GGD/ AIMD- 98- 51, March
6, 1998). Year 2000 Readiness: NRC's Proposed Approach Regarding
Nuclear Powerplants (GAO/AIMD-98-90R, March 6, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation's Efforts to Ensure Bank Systems Are Year 2000
Compliant (GAO/T-AIMD-98-73, February 10, 1998).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: FAA Must Act Quickly to Prevent
Systems Failures (GAO/T-AIMD-98-63, February 4, 1998). FAA
Computer Systems: Limited Progress on Year 2000 Issue Increases
Risk Dramatically (GAO/AIMD-98-45, January 30, 1998).

Defense Computers: Air Force Needs to Strengthen Year 2000
Oversight (GAO/AIMD-98-35, January 16, 1998). Year 2000 Computing
Crisis: Actions Needed to Address Credit Union Systems' Year 2000
Problem (GAO/AIMD-98-48, January 7, 1998).

Veterans Health Administration Facility Systems: Some Progress
Made In Ensuring Year 2000 Compliance, But Challenges Remain
(GAO/AIMD-98-31R, November 7, 1997). Year 2000 Computing Crisis:
National Credit Union Administration's Efforts to Ensure Credit
Union Systems Are Year 2000 Compliant (GAO/T-AIMD-98-20, October
22, 1997). Social Security Administration: Significant Progress
Made in Year 2000 Effort, But Key Risks Remain (GAO/AIMD-98-6,
October 22, 1997).

Defense Computers: Technical Support Is Key to Naval Supply Year
2000 Success (GAO/AIMD-98-7R, October 21, 1997).

Defense Computers: LSSC Needs to Confront Significant Year 2000
Issues (GAO/AIMD-97-149, September 26, 1997). Veterans Affairs
Computer Systems: Action Underway Yet Much Work Remains To Resolve
Year 2000 Crisis (GAO/T-AIMD-97-174, September 25, 1997).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Success Depends Upon Strong Management
and Structured Approach (GAO/T-AIMD-97-173, September 25, 1997).
Year 2000 Computing Crisis: An Assessment Guide (GAO/ AIMD-
10.1.14, September 1997). Defense Computers: SSG Needs to Sustain
Year 2000 Progress (GAO/AIMD-97-120R, August 19, 1997). Defense
Computers: Improvements to DOD Systems Inventory Needed for Year
2000 Effort (GAO/AIMD-97-112, August 13, 1997).

Defense Computers: Issues Confronting DLA in Addressing Year 2000
Problems (GAO/AIMD-97-106, August 12, 1997).

Defense Computers: DFAS Faces Challenges in Solving the Year 2000
Problem (GAO/AIMD-97-117, August 11, 1997).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Time is Running Out for Federal
Agencies to Prepare for the New Millennium (GAO/T-AIMD-97-129,
July 10, 1997).

Veterans Benefits Computer Systems: Uninterrupted Delivery of
Benefits Depends on Timely Correction of Year- 2000 Problems
(GAO/T-AIMD-97-114, June 26, 1997). Veterans Benefits Computer
Systems: Risks of VBA's Year- 2000 Efforts (GAO/AIMD-97-79, May
30, 1997). Medicare Transaction System: Success Depends Upon
Correcting Critical Managerial and Technical Weaknesses (GAO/AIMD-
97-78, May 16, 1997).

Medicare Transaction System: Serious Managerial and Technical
Weaknesses Threaten Modernization (GAO/T-AIMD-97-91, May 16,
1997). Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Risk of Serious Disruption to
Essential Government Functions Calls for Agency Action Now (GAO/T-
AIMD-97-52, February 27, 1997).

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Strong Leadership Today Needed To
Prevent Future Disruption of Government Services (GAO/T-AIMD-97-
51, February 24, 1997). High- Risk Series: Information Management
and Technology (GAO/HR-97-9, February 1997).

Appendi x V I Risks to Computer- Supported Operations (Based on a
list developed by the National Institute of Standards and
Technology and included in An Introduction to Computer Security:
The NIST Handbook, Special Publication 800- 12, December 1995.)
Malicious hackers, those who break into computers without
authorization, are especially troubling because their identity and

purpose are unknown. In recent years, there has been growing
concern that hackers, especially those working on behalf of
hostile foreign governments or terrorists, could cause devastating
disruptions and damage to computer- dependent operations and
infrastructures.  Malicious code, such as viruses, worms, Trojan
horses, and logic bombs, can cause serious damage and disruption
and can be costly to remediate. This was recently illustrated by
the Melissa virus.  Errors and omissions in data entry are an
important threat to data and system integrity. These errors are
caused not only by data entry clerks

processing hundreds of transactions per day, but also by all types
of users who create and edit data.  Software programming and
development errors can range in severity

from benign to catastrophic.  Installation and maintenance errors
can introduce significant security vulnerabilities.  Criminals
intent on fraud and theft can exploit computer systems by
automating traditional methods of fraud and by using new methods.
Systems that control access to resources, such as inventory
systems, are

particular targets.  Employee sabotage can cause especially
serious problems because the employee, or ex- employee, may have
detailed knowledge of system

operations and vulnerabilities. Such sabotage may include
destroying hardware or facilities, planting logic bombs that
destroy software programs or data, crashing systems, or holding
encrypted data hostage.

 Foreign government espionage efforts, while often thought of as
targeting classified systems, may also target unclassified systems
to gain information on topics such as travel plans of senior
officials, civil defense and emergency preparedness, manufacturing
technologies, satellite data, personnel and payroll data, and law
enforcement, investigative, and security files.  Threats to
personal privacy are of concern because computers now accumulate
vast amounts of electronic information about individuals by
governments, credit bureaus, and private companies. In several
cases, federal and state employees have sold personal information
to private investigators or other information brokers.

 Industrial espionage can be perpetrated either by companies
seeking to improve their competitive advantage or by governments
seeking to aid their domestic industries.

Examples of Information Security Weaknesses Reported by GAO for
Federal

Appendi x V

Agencies During Fiscal Year 1999 In May 1999, we reported that, as
part of our tests of the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration's (NASA) computer- based controls, we successfully
penetrated several mission- critical systems. Having obtained
access, we could have disrupted NASA's ongoing command and control
operations and stolen, modified, or destroyed system software and
data. 1 In December 1998, we reported that weaknesses in Internal
Revenue Service's (IRS) computer security controls continued to
place IRS' automated systems and taxpayer data at serious risk to
both internal and

external threats that could result in the denial of computer
services or in the unauthorized disclosure, modification, or
destruction of taxpayer data. 2 In August 1999, we reported that
serious weaknesses in DOD information security continue to provide
both hackers and hundreds of thousands of authorized users the
opportunity to modify, steal, inappropriately disclose, and
destroy sensitive DOD data. These weaknesses impair DOD's ability
to (1) control physical and electronic access to its systems and
data,

(2) ensure that software running on its systems is properly
authorized, tested, and functioning as intended, (3) limit
employees' ability to perform incompatible functions, and (4)
resume operations in the event of a disaster. As a result,
numerous Defense functions, including weapons and supercomputer
research, logistics, finance, procurement, personnel management,
military health, and payroll, have already been adversely

affected by system attacks or fraud. 3 1 Information Security:
Many NASA Mission- Critical Systems Face Serious Risks (GAO/AIMD-
99-47, May 20, 1999). 2 IRS Systems Security: Although Significant
Improvements Made, Tax Processing Operations and Data Still at
Serious Risk (GAO/AIMD-99-38, December 14, 1998). 3 DOD
Information Security: Serious Weaknesses Continue to Place Defense
Operations at Risk (GAO/AIMD-99-107, August 26, 1999).

In July 1999, we reported that the Department of Agriculture's
(USDA) National Finance Center (NFC) had serious access control
weaknesses that affected its ability to prevent and/ or detect
unauthorized changes to payroll and other payment data or computer
software. NFC develops and operates administrative and financial
systems, including payroll/ personnel, property

management, and accounting systems for both the USDA and more than
60 other federal organizations. During fiscal year 1998, NFC
processed more than $19 billion in payroll payments for more than
450,000 federal employees. NFC is also responsible for maintaining
records for the world's largest 401( k)- type program, the federal
Thrift Savings Program. This program, which is growing at about $1
billion per month, covers about

2.3 million employees and totaled more than $60 billion as of
September 30, 1998. 4 The weaknesses we identified increased the
risk that users could cause improper payments and that sensitive
information could be misused, improperly disclosed, or destroyed.
In October 1998, we reported that general computer controls at the
Department of Treasury's Financial Management Service and its
contractor data centers placed the data maintained in its
financial systems at significant risk of unauthorized
modification, disclosure, loss, or impairment. As a result,
billions of dollars of payments and collections were at risk of
fraud. 5

4 USDA Information Security: Weaknesses at National Finance Center
Increase Risk of Fraud, Misuse, and Improper Disclosure (GAO/AIMD-
99-227, July 30, 1999). 5 Financial Management Service: Areas for
Improvement in Computer Controls (GAO/AIMD-99-10, October 20,
1998).

(511062) Let er t

GAO United States General Accounting Office

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