02:34 PM

GAO: Multiple Failures Sunk Border Security System

Poor management and performance led the Department Of Homeland Security to halt funding of SBInet, Government Accounting Office says.

A botched testing process, performance issues, and poor management derailed a Department of Homeland Security project to install a sophisticated security system on the fence at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday.

The DHS earlier this week cut off funding for the project, called SBInet, pending further review. The report outlines events that led to the DHS' decision.

The project was to install cameras, radar, and ground sensors along the fence on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. It was originally meant to be completed by 2014. DHS called for a reassessment of the project last month.

Test plans were poorly defined and plagued by "numerous and extensive last-minute changes to test procedures," according to the report, and even when the system was tested, it performed poorly.

Further, those overseeing the project failed to prioritize solving problems with the system and failed to conduct further tests.

The report concluded that if the development and testing of the system were to continue in the same fashion, SBInet would not perform as expected and would take longer and cost more than necessary to implement.

"For DHS to increase its chances of delivering a version of SBInet for operational use, we are recommending that DHS improve the planning and execution of future test events and the resolution and disclosure of system problems," the report concludes, adding that the DHS agreed with these recommendations.

The DHS had expected the entire SBInet project to cost $6.7 billion, a readjustment from its original projected budget of $8 billion. To date the DHS has spent about $720 million on current SBInet deployments since the project began in 2005.

SBInet was to install a series of cameras, radar, ground sensors and other high-tech surveillance technology along the fence on nearly the entire border between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as integrate them via a centralized network and dashboard from which border control can monitor activity along the border.

The project was originally scheduled for completion by 2014, but the technical glitches and delays outlined in the GAO report held up the project so that only a prototype of the final solution is currently in use on just one part of the border.

The DHS plans to reallocate $50 million of Recovery Act money that was meant for SBInet to implementing a scaled-down version of the project.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Who Does What in Cybersecurity at the C-Level
Steve Zurier, Freelance Writer,  3/16/2018
New 'Mac-A-Mal' Tool Automates Mac Malware Hunting & Analysis
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  3/14/2018
(ISC)2 Report: Glaring Disparity in Diversity for US Cybersecurity
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  3/15/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
How to Cope with the IT Security Skills Shortage
Most enterprises don't have all the in-house skills they need to meet the rising threat from online attackers. Here are some tips on ways to beat the shortage.
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
Most enterprises are using threat intel services, but many are still figuring out how to use the data they're collecting. In this Dark Reading survey we give you a look at what they're doing today - and where they hope to go.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.