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Federal government gets 'D' in cyber security.

The House Government Reform Committee gave the federal government a "D" for its efforts to implement cyber security measures. Although the members issued a grade of "barely passing," it was an improvement from last year's failing grade.

Of the 24 agencies examined in 2003, 14 received grades below a "C," while eight others, including the Department of Homeland Security, failed. The Social Security Administration and the Department of Labor received a "B+" and "B" respectively; the National Science Foundation received an "A-" and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission earned an "A," according to Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., chairman of the committee.

Besides the DHS, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Interior, State, Justice, Energy, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development also received a failing grade.

For the Agriculture, Interior and Justice Departments, this marks the third year in a row they have received a failing grade in computer security.

NASA and the Office of Personnel Management both received a "D-." The Defense Department, the General Services Administration and the Treasury Dept. all received "Ds." The Dept. of Tansportation received a "D+."

This is the fourth year that the Committee has graded the government on its cyber security initiatives.

In 2001, 15 agencies received failing grades. Last year, 13 failed. No agencies received an "A" in either 2001 or 2002.

This year; only five agencies completed reliable inventories of their information technology assets, leaving 19 without such data, said Putnam.

Agencies that received better grades identified critical infrastructure and mission critical systems. They also had a strong incident-identification mad reporting procedures, tight controls over contractors, and strong plans of actions and milestones that served as guides for finding and eliminating security weaknesses, said Putnam.

Putnam expects to hold a hearing on the federal government's response to cyber security after the Office of Management and Budget releases its own report next month.
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Title Annotation:Security Beat
Author:Fein, Geoff S.
Publication:National Defense
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2004
Words:310
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