OMB asks agencies for cybersecurity check-up

Agencies have until Oct. 6 to report to the Office of Management and Budget on how they have improved their cybersecurity over the past year.

The administration earlier this week detailed the steps agencies should take to fill out their fiscal 2004 Federal Information Security Management Act reports.

In a memo to agency executives, OMB director Joshua B. Bolten said agencies should summarize the results of their annual IT security reviews of systems, agency progress in correcting weaknesses defined in their plans of actions and their inspector general evaluations.

Last year, agencies said about 62 percent of all systems were secured, and OMB earlier this month, said that number had increased to 70 percent. Agencies still are well behind the administration's goal of 90 percent of all systems secured by December 2003.

This year OMB is asking for the first time how agencies are training employees on the dangers of peer-to-peer file sharing.

'While there are many appropriate uses of this technology, a number of studies have shown the vast majority of files traded on P2P (peer-to-peer) networks are copyrighted music files and pornography,' the memo said. 'Data also suggests P2P is a common avenue for the spread of computer viruses' in IT systems.

OMB also reminded agencies they have to use the National Institute of Standards and Technology's special self-security assessment publication 800-26.

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