US Veterans Affairs Office Yet to Fix Security Vulnerabilities: Government

© Fotolia / ElnurThe US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) still has many security weaknesses that are threatening its information technology systems that hold veterans' data
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) still has many security weaknesses that are threatening its information technology systems that hold veterans' data - Sputnik International
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The US Government Accountability Office reported that the US Department of Veterans Affairs still had many web security weaknesses that can lead to the disclosure of sensitive information, loss or theft of resources.

WASHINGTON, November 17 (Sputnik) — The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) still has many security weaknesses that are threatening its information technology systems that hold veterans' data, US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported Monday.

"Until VA fully addresses previously identified security weaknesses, its information is at heightened risk of unauthorized access, modification, and disclosure and its systems at risk of disruption," the report read.

The review came after VA was investigated for its mismanagement of service member's programs. GAO found that the VA's forensic analysis system was unable to produce effective evidence incident response and have neither implemented a solution for correcting such weaknesses, nor addressed vulnerabilities in key web applications.

The VA's forensic analysis system affects the medical records of about 22 million veterans and eligible family members, whose personal information is stored on the computer systems around the country, according to the report.

"Without proper safeguards, these computer systems are vulnerable to significant risks, including loss or theft of resources; inappropriate access to and disclosure, modification, or destruction of sensitive information; use of computer resources for unauthorized purposes or to launch attacks on other computer systems," the report read.

GAO recommends that the VA address these security vulnerabilities in addition to providing specific ways to address its network weaknesses.

The VA came under scrutiny over the summer after it was found that the department had extensive health care backlogs, which resulted in veterans waiting for months to go to appointments.

In response to the scrutiny, US President Barack Obama then selected the VA's current Secretary Robert McDonald to replace Eric Shinseki in August and later signed the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 that gave $15 billion to the department over 3 years to hire more staff and to improve its infrastructure. The VA provides numerous benefits including health care, rehabilitation and disability compensation to Veterans upon completion of their military service.

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