EPA Computers "Riddled With Security Weaknesses"

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EPA Computers "Riddled With Security Weaknesses" Saturday, August 12, 2000

By Julia Malone Cox News Service

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's information systems have been "riddled with security weaknesses" that allowed frequent intrusions by foreign and domestic computer hackers, a government study warns.

The U.S. General Accounting Office, the bipartisan investigative arm of Congress, reported Friday that it found more than two-dozen instances in which the EPA's database was compromised or misused.

In July of last year, for example, a group of hackers set up a "chat room" on an EPA network server to conduct on-line conversations. In another case, the EPA failed to notice a sophisticated penetration of three agency computers until it was notified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

At risk is the nation's chief repository of environmental information. The EPA keeps records on health and safety assessments and private businesses, as well as data on contracting and personnel.

Hackers skilled enough to bypass the security can access much of this information through the Internet, where it is then subject to disruption, fraud and improper disclosure, the report says.

"Computer security risks are significant, and they are growing," said the congressional investigating office, which put the EPA on a list of 22 federal agencies which have lax database security.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), August 12, 2000


The improper disclosure is what the big companies are worried about. John Q. Public knowing that the next Bohpbal is in his back yard.

That was the real reason why this system was taken off the Net. To avoid public screw-net-ee of the big messes. It was a very nice data base where you could look up by zip code what was lurking there. It was shut down late last year, if I remember correctly. And has yet to be reinstated.

-- Sorry, in cog neat-oh (justA@us.citizen.org), August 12, 2000.

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