Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

3/27/2019
12:50 PM
50%
50%

GAO Finds Deficiencies in Systems for Handling National Debt

IT systems at the Bureau of the Fiscal Service and the Federal Reserve Bank show vulnerabilities that could lead them open to exploitation and breach.

Two related reports from the General Accounting Office (GAO) point out significant issues with the IT systems involved in managing and servicing more than $22 trillion in federal debt. The reports — one a GAO financial audit of the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, and the other a management report on the Federal Reserve — each conclude that there are problems with the configuration and control systems within IT. And while those problems have not yet resulted in system breaches, according to the reports, they're worthy of immediate attention and remediation.

In the financial audit of the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, auditors include a section in which they underscore the importance of a significant deficiency in information system controls. "These general control deficiencies increase the risk of unauthorized access to, modification of, or disclosure of sensitive data and programs and disruption of critical operations," they say. In particular, the audit mentions the lack of least privilege access as a security concern for systems.

The audit also lists broad suggestions for remediation, though it doesn't express any great optimism for the implementation of those steps. "We continued to identify instances in which known information system vulnerabilities were not being remediated on a timely basis. We also continued to identify instances in which implemented configuration settings were not effectively monitored against baseline security requirements," they say.

Federal Reserve Banks are charged with implementing many of the practical steps of dealing with the national debt. Although the GAO didn't audit the banks, it did conduct a management review looking at issues similar to those raised in the Bureau of the Fiscal Service audit. The GAO issued a pair of reports, one limited to staff and the board of governors, and the other a high-level public report.

The public management report points out deficiencies in configuration management. "These new and continuing control deficiencies increase the risk of unauthorized access to, modification of, or disclosure of sensitive data and programs," it says.

Though the deficiencies have not resulted in breaches, the response has not come through improvements to the technology and its use. Rather, the GAO found the deficiencies were "mitigated primarily by Fiscal Service's compensating management and reconciliation controls to detect potential misstatements of the Schedule of Federal Debt."

Each report points out that some of the issues identified in previous audits and reports have been mitigated, while others remain to be dealt with.

Read more here and here.

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Dark Reading's Quick Hits delivers a brief synopsis and summary of the significance of breaking news events. For more information from the original source of the news item, please follow the link provided in this article. View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
ThomasMaloney
50%
50%
ThomasMaloney,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/16/2019 | 3:00:36 AM
Need intervention
It is really not surprising at all that there are actually deficiencies in the systems regardless of whether or not they belong to the state. Vulnerabilities are bound to be present anywhere at all as long as there are security lapses that are still pending intervention.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
3/30/2019 | 1:57:30 PM
deficiencies
"These new and continuing control deficiencies increase the risk of unauthorized access to, modification of, or disclosure of sensitive data and programs," Obviously there is good amount of work to be done. Unauthorized access can easily be mitigated.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
3/30/2019 | 1:55:45 PM
Re: End Game
I would posit that debt isn't an asset so is it something worth targeting. Interesting to point out. Anything that can be hacked my be considered target.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
3/30/2019 | 1:54:14 PM
Re: End Game
What is the actual risk if these systems were to be compromised? Good question. Level of risk getting bigger in each step they do not have any mitigation.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
3/30/2019 | 1:52:54 PM
Breaches
Though the deficiencies have not resulted in breaches, the response has not come through improvements to the technology and its use. I wonder how they wiiid know that. Most breaches go unheard.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
3/30/2019 | 1:51:51 PM
least privilege access
the audit mentions the lack of least privilege access as a security concern for systems. This may be important, they may need to address this first I would say.
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
3/28/2019 | 9:14:43 AM
End Game
What is the actual risk if these systems were to be compromised? Do they only touch data around National Debt?

I would posit that debt isn't an asset so is it something worth targeting. Is it IP in those systems that is the main worry?
NSA Appoints Rob Joyce as Cyber Director
Dark Reading Staff 1/15/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Hunny, I looked every where for the dorritos. 
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-8567
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-21
Kubernetes Secrets Store CSI Driver Vault Plugin prior to v0.0.6, Azure Plugin prior to v0.0.10, and GCP Plugin prior to v0.2.0 allow an attacker who can create specially-crafted SecretProviderClass objects to write to arbitrary file paths on the host filesystem, including /var/lib/kubelet/pods.
CVE-2020-8568
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-21
Kubernetes Secrets Store CSI Driver versions v0.0.15 and v0.0.16 allow an attacker who can modify a SecretProviderClassPodStatus/Status resource the ability to write content to the host filesystem and sync file contents to Kubernetes Secrets. This includes paths under var/lib/kubelet/pods that conta...
CVE-2020-8569
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-21
Kubernetes CSI snapshot-controller prior to v2.1.3 and v3.0.2 could panic when processing a VolumeSnapshot custom resource when: - The VolumeSnapshot referenced a non-existing PersistentVolumeClaim and the VolumeSnapshot did not reference any VolumeSnapshotClass. - The snapshot-controller crashes, ...
CVE-2020-8570
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-21
Kubernetes Java client libraries in version 10.0.0 and versions prior to 9.0.1 allow writes to paths outside of the current directory when copying multiple files from a remote pod which sends a maliciously crafted archive. This can potentially overwrite any files on the system of the process executi...
CVE-2020-8554
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-21
Kubernetes API server in all versions allow an attacker who is able to create a ClusterIP service and set the spec.externalIPs field, to intercept traffic to that IP address. Additionally, an attacker who is able to patch the status (which is considered a privileged operation and should not typicall...