IG Questions DHS Execution of Active Directory

Audit Reveals Departmental Data at Risk of Unauthorized Access, Destruction An audit of the Department of Homeland Security's Microsoft Windows Active Directory at its headquarters revealed that its implementation failed to fully comply with the department's security guidelines, and no mechanism was in place to ensure its level of security, DHS's inspector general said in a report made public Tuesday.

"These systems were added to the headquarters domain, from trusted components, before their security configurations were validated," the IG report said. "Allowing systems with existing security vulnerabilities into the headquarters domain puts department data at risk of unauthorized access, removal, or destruction."

The report also said DHS does not have a policy to verify the quality of security configuration on component systems that connect to headquarters. "Interconnection security agreements are present for each connection between headquarters and components to secure shared services; however, neither the agreements nor other policy define specific security controls required for connecting systems," the IG said. "Stronger management and technical controls are needed on trusted systems to protect data provided by the department's enterprise-wide applications."

The IG made three recommendations, and said that DHS has initiate actions to implement them.

Active Directory provides authentication services on a network, allowing system administrators to assign security policies, deploy software and apply critical software updates to the organization's Windows servers and workstations.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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