DHS Springs into Action as GAO Report Finds Gov’t BlackBerries, Laptops at Risk

Image: Elnur, PinkShot

A Government Accountability Office review of federal wireless security standards has prompted swift action from the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the Nov. 30 GAO report, the watchdog agency found several security gaps regarding wireless technology, including government-issued laptops and mobile devices, such as BlackBerry phones.

GAO auditors found security risks when laptops were connected to both wired and unsecured wireless networks, because hackers could exploit the wireless network to gain access to the wired one, according to Nextgov’s reporting on the GAO study.

GAO also found:

  • Insufficient policies for using mobile devices outside the United States
  • Insufficient scanning for “rogue” wireless networks
  • A lack of proper security configurations for government-issued BlackBerries

Following the report’s revelations, DHS officials said they would conduct reviews of wireless security.

DHS is charged with enforcing cybersecurity compliance under the Federal Information Security Management Act, and it announced it would undertake stepped-up reviews, including “compliance audits and a wireless architecture document,” according to Nextgov.

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