Transportation IG to Examine Security of Financial Systems Dispersing CARES Act Funds


A new audit will hone in on the security controls of systems being used at the Federal Transportation Department. 

The Transportation Department Office of Inspector General is set to assess the security of the financial systems the Federal Transit Administration is using to distribute coronavirus relief funds. 

A memorandum released Thursday confirms that an audit has been initiated on select security controls underpinning the systems. 

“Since March 2020, the number of attacks on federal government information systems has increased through a variety of techniques, including social engineering and spear phishing,”  Assistant Inspector General for Information Technology Audits Kevin Dorsey wrote in the note. “These attacks can hinder federal agency operations and threaten the operations of FTA’s financial management information systems by affecting system and information confidentiality,  availability, and integrity.” 

FTA collected $25 billion of the more than $36 billion in coronavirus relief that was dished out to the Transportation Department through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act, after the pandemic radically disrupted its executive branch operations and broader industry. Roughly $22.7 billion of FTA’s funds are being allocated to urban areas, while $2.2 billion will support rural areas. 

Specific security controls must be selected and implemented by the federal agency to help lessen vulnerabilities and risks within its technology-based financial management systems—and ultimately meet government-steered security requirements. 

“Accordingly, we are initiating this audit to assess the effectiveness of FTA’s financial management systems’ security controls designed to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the systems and their information,” Dorsey wrote. 

Officials intend to begin the audit immediately, and will conduct it remotely at the Transportation Department’s headquarters, as well as contractor sites as needed.