Risk
9/13/2011
04:57 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

GAO: Technology Gaps Jeopardize U.S. Visa Entry System

Incomplete biometric identification is among the gaps the DHS needs to fill to secure the US-VISIT foreign visitors system.

Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
An incomplete biometric system is one of the gaps jeopardizing the security of the U.S. visa entry system, according to a government watchdog agency.

The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit (CTCEU) is in charge of enforcing laws that govern foreigners who overstay their time in the country. To help in this endeavor, the DHS has deployed a biometric-based identification system called US-VISIT to keep track of foreign nationals when they enter and leave the country.

Though the system is operating in ports of entry when people enter the country, it's not fully operational when they leave, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report is based on testimony made by Richard M. Stana, director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues for the GAO, before the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security of the House of Representatives' Committee on Homeland Security.

Without this system fully in place, the DHS is relying on biographical data it has on foreign nationals to identify people who have overstayed their visas. However, "unreliable data hinder DHS's efforts to accurately identify overstays," said Stana.

The report noted that weaknesses in DHS processes for collecting departure data are making it difficult for the government to determine overstay rates.

Moreover, the DHS still has yet to define, plan, or justify biometric and other features of its US-VISIT exit projects on the basis of costs, benefits, and risks, despite a proposal to spend tens of millions of dollars on them, Stana testified.

"We concluded that, without a master schedule that was integrated and derived in accordance with relevant guidance, DHS could not reliably commit to when and how it would deliver a comprehensive exit solution or adequately monitor and manage its progress toward this end," said the report.

The DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Join us for GovCloud 2011, a day-long event where IT professionals in federal, state, and local government will develop a deeper understanding of cloud options. Register now.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading, September 16, 2014
Malicious software is morphing to be more targeted, stealthy, and destructive. Are you prepared to stop it?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2006-1318
Published: 2014-09-19
Microsoft Office 2003 SP1 and SP2, Office XP SP3, Office 2000 SP3, Office 2004 for Mac, and Office X for Mac do not properly parse record lengths, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a malformed control in an Office document, aka "Microsoft Office Control Vulnerability."

CVE-2012-2588
Published: 2014-09-19
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in MailEnable Enterprise 6.5 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) From, (2) To, or (3) Subject header or (4) body in an SMTP e-mail message.

CVE-2012-6659
Published: 2014-09-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the admin interface in Phorum before 5.2.19 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted URL.

CVE-2014-1391
Published: 2014-09-19
QT Media Foundation in Apple OS X before 10.9.5 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) via a crafted movie file with RLE encoding.

CVE-2014-3614
Published: 2014-09-19
Unspecified vulnerability in PowerDNS Recursor (aka pdns_recursor) 3.6.x before 3.6.1 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via an unknown sequence of malformed packets.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio