DHS Gets 'F' for Computer Security -- Again

You might expect the Department of Homeland Security to have one of the most secure computer systems in all of government.

But you would be wrong.

The House Government Reform Committee released its annual report card on federal computer security and DHS -- which got an F in 2004 -- received another F for 2005.

The Department of Health and Human Resources, which would manage the bird flu if it reaches our shores, also got an F, as did the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Interior and Veterans Affairs. Joining them at the bottom was the State Department, which earned a D+ in 2004 but dropped to an F last year, and the Defense Department which slid from a D to an F for 2005. The overall grade for federal agency computer security was a dismal D+.

The report card measures such practices as ensuring proper password management and restricting access to sensitive information.

Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., called the scores "unacceptably low."

Davis stressed the need to safeguard the government's electronic resources. "We must guard our information systems from hackers, terrorists, hostile foreign governments and identity thieves to protect our national security, allow for continuity of government operations and ensure the privacy of citizens' personal information," he said.

According to the committee, the government has a long way to go before realizing those goals.