Risk
9/13/2011
04:57 PM
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
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Five Emerging Security Threats - And What You Can Learn From Them
At Black Hat USA, researchers unveiled some nasty vulnerabilities. Is your organization ready?
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join Dark Reading community editor Marilyn Cohodas and her guest, David Shearer, (ISC)2 Chief Executive Officer, as they discuss issues that keep IT security professionals up at night, including results from the recent 2016 Black Hat Attendee Survey.