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    US Agencies Must Improve 'High-Impact Systems' to Deter Cyberattacks

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    Federal agencies in the United States must improve the security of high-impact systems to thwart cyberattacks from other nations, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report released on Tuesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — High-impact systems are those holding sensitive information, the loss of which could cause "catastrophic harm" to the United States, the GAO explained. Of the 18 US federal agencies with high-impact systems, 11 reported 2,267 incidents affecting those systems in fiscal year 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.

    "In GAO's survey of 24 federal agencies, the 18 agencies having high-impact systems identified cyberattacks from ‘nations’ as the most serious and most frequently-occurring threat to the security of their systems," the report stated.

    The GAO also stated that US federal systems were plagued by security risks, including user authentication, system boundary protection and activity monitoring.

    An underlying reason for the system weakness is that the agencies had not implemented elements of their own information security programs, the GAO pointed out.

    Multiple US agencies, including the Department of State, US Postal Service and the Office of Management and Budget, have been breached by malicious cyberattacks in recent years, raising questions about the security of critical infrastructure in the United States.

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    cyberattacks, United States
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