Audit Report: DOE-OIG-19-52

You are here

September 27, 2019

Management of Cybersecurity over Selected Information Systems at Department of Energy Headquarters

The Department of Energy operates a variety of information technology systems and infrastructure to support its diverse missions, each of which has its own unique characteristics and demands.  The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is responsible for helping to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and information systems operated at Department Headquarters.  To aid in this effort, the OCIO manages the Energy Information Technology Services to support program and staff offices at Headquarters and select field sites. While the OCIO is the primary entity responsible for information technology operations at Headquarters, several other program offices also have significant information technology investments and resources at that location.

The Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 requires each Federal agency to develop, document, and implement an enterprise-wide cybersecurity program to protect systems and data that support the operations and assets of an agency.  However, prior Office of Inspector General reports have highlighted cybersecurity weaknesses across the Department, including various types of weaknesses at Headquarters.  Furthermore, the Office of Inspector General received an allegation that software and hardware utilized by the OCIO had no manufacturer support or updates/patches, which presented a security risk to the Department.  We initiated this audit to determine whether the Department managed cybersecurity over selected Headquarters information systems in accordance with Federal and Department requirements.

We found the Department had not fully managed cybersecurity for selected Headquarters information systems in accordance with Federal and Department requirements.  In particular, our testing of three information systems managed by the OCIO, Energy Information Administration, and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer identified weaknesses related to system and information integrity, system and services acquisition, security planning, access controls, and configuration management. 

The issues we identified occurred, in part, because of various program-specific internal control weaknesses related to each of the information systems reviewed.

Without improvements, the systems reviewed and the data they contain will continue to be at a higher-than-necessary risk of compromise, loss, or modification.  To help improve the management of the Department’s cybersecurity program, we issued a detailed report to the OCIO, Energy Information Administration, and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer that included six recommendations.  Management concurred with the recommendations and indicated that corrective actions were underway or planned to mitigate the findings identified in the report.

Due to the sensitive nature of the vulnerabilities identified during our audit, the report issued to the Department was for Official Use Only.  We provided OCIO, Energy Information Administration, and Office of the Chief Financial Officer officials with detailed information regarding vulnerabilities that we identified.

Topic: Management and Administrtion