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Hacking Attempts on Fed Agencies Up 650 Percent in Five Years

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Hacking attempts on federal agencies have increased 650 percent in the past five years, leaving sensitive data greatly at risk for theft and compromise, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Monday.

In its report, “Information Security: Weaknesses Continue Amid New Federal Efforts to Implement Requirements,” GAO blamed weak information security practices and said agencies have not fully implemented programs to address the weaknesses.

Agencies did not always properly train personnel responsible for security systems or continuously monitor security controls, GAO said. GAO also said agencies struggled to shore up vulnerabilities or resolve incidents in a timely manner.

Federal agencies control 11,310 information systems, GAO said. Of those, 1,296 are considered high-impact, meaning a security breach could have a “catastrophic adverse effect” on “organizational operations, organizational assets or individuals,” according to GAO.

According to the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act, or FISMA, GAO is required to update Congress on agencies’ compliance in carrying out computer security measures.

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