GAO: Weaknesses Remain in FDIC's Information Security

Lukas Radavicius/

Unaddressed vulnerabilities left key financial systems at risk for misuse.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation enforces banking laws and regulates financial institutions across the country, yet weaknesses in its security posture place information at unnecessary risk, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

The GAO report posits that while FDIC has “made progress in securing key financial systems” following a series of GAO audits dating back to 2011, its failure to implement specific recommendations by the watchdog agency has led to vulnerabilities in the “confidentiality, integrity and availability of financial systems and information.”

Specifically, GAO contends FDIC did not implement controls for identifying and authenticating users or restrict access to sensitive data or systems. In addition, FDIC did not encrypt sensitive data, complete background investigations for employees, or audit system access.

In the report, GAO did not mince words implicating FDIC's security shortcomings, stating, “FDIC did not fully or consistently implement aspects of its information security program.”

While the flaws did not constitute a significant deficiency or material weakness for financial reporting purposes, it left FDIC's sensitive financial information and resources exposed to “unnecessary risk of inadvertent or deliberate misuse, improper modification, unauthorized disclosure or destruction.”

To shore up the risk, GAO made four recommendations, each of which involves direct action from the FDIC's chief information officer. FDIC has agreed to implement GAO’s recommendations by Dec. 31, 2014.

(Image via Lukas Radavicius/