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GAO Find Weaknesses in SEC Information Systems Security Program

Apr 17th 2012
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By AccountingWEB Staff

In a letter dated April 12 to SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro, James Dalkin, GAO director of financial management and assurance, and Gregory Wilshusen, GAO director of information security issues, stated that "improvements were needed in the SEC's internal controls and accounting procedures." 

In its audit of the SEC's fiscal years 2011 and 2010 financial statements, GAO auditors "identified significant deficiencies in internal control", one of which was the SEC's information systems security program. Following is a brief summary.

The GAO report outlined five specific deficiencies:

  1. Controls were not consistently implemented for identifying and authenticating users.
  2. Weaknesses in authorization controls limited their effectiveness.
  3. Certain sensitive data were transmitted unencrypted.
  4. Certain systems were not configured to maintain audit trails of security-relevant events.
  5. Systems were not routinely and consistently patched.

GAO recommendations for executive action: 

  1. Establish configuration baselines and related guidance for securing systems and monitoring system configuration baseline implementation.
  2. Enhance the EDGAR security plan to document security requirements for the EDGAR/Fee Momentum subsystem.
  3. Develop and implement a comprehensive vulnerability management strategy that includes routine scanning of SEC's systems and evaluation of such scanning to provide for any needed corrective actions.

To learn more, you can access the text file for GAO report number GAO-12-424R",Management Report: Improvements Needed in SEC's Internal Controls and Accounting Procedures" that was released on April 13, 2012. 

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