Audit finds holes in Canberra's finance systems

Powered by SC Magazine
 

Lack of DR, weak passwords and no audit trails in some systems.

The Australian National Audit Office has discovered that several of Canberra’s most critical Government agencies – including Customs, the Department of Finance and the DBCDE – have been operating financial and HR systems without adequate controls in place around user identity and security.

The ANAO report also found that Australia’s Electoral Commission failed to have adequate disaster recovery or IT security controls in place.

The discoveries were made as part of a routine annual audit of the Financial Statements of Federal Government Agencies [PDF], which included an analysis of the internal controls of major agencies.

The audit identified “weaknesses” in Customs and Border Protection’s IT security policy – including “insufficient complexity of passwords”, “lack of monitoring of privileged users” and instances where there was inappropriate approval of new users.

The audit also found weaknesses in the management of user access to Customs’ Integrated Cargo System.

The Australian Electoral Commission, meanwhile, was found wanting in terms of IT security and business continuity.

The 2009/10 audit identified that the AEC had no disaster recovery plans for all of its IT systems and had never simulated any disasters to test its business continuity.

“This increases the risk that in the event of an interruption to business operations, an accident, or a disaster, the AEC will be unable to restore critical business systems within acceptable timeframes,” the report noted.

Further, the ANAO identified that the electoral office did not comply with the Government’s Information Security Manual (ISM), but did not go into any detail.

Systems access was also an issue for the Department of Finance, the Department of Broadband, Communication and the Digital Economy (DBCDE), AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) and CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority).

AUSTRAC – which was also found to have breached Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines – was found to have no delegation limits to its finance system for part of the year – a situation quickly remedied post the audit.

The Department of Finance, meanwhile, was cautioned after the username and password of a “super user”- with access to high-level systems - was found freely available in plain text format on a network drive that a significant number of Finance staff had access to.

The DBCDE was not found to have any access control issues, but its finance systems lacked an adequate audit trail to determine which staff had accessed or made changes in the system.

“During the 2009–10 final audit, the ANAO confirmed that DBCDE had addressed this matter by the removal of these access privileges and by implementing a system to proactively monitor system access,” the report said.

CASA was also found to lack a sufficient audit trail with regards to its finance and HR systems. And like Customs, a number of CASA users were found to be using default passwords that were not complex enough.

“These accounts were not uniquely identifiable to an individual,” the audit noted. “This situation also provided higher levels of privileged access than  required.” 

CASA’s IT security posture was also criticised after the auditor discovered that developers had access to the IT production environment of its finance and HR systems, which the ANAO labelled “a lack of segregation of duties”.

“The  lack of segregation  of  duties  increased  the  risk  of  unauthorised,  erroneous  and/or untested  program  changes  being  implemented  into  production,  as  well  as increasing  the  risk  of  inappropriate  changes  to  the  production  environment that may not be detected in a timely manner,” the audit report said. “This situation increases the risk of CASA’s system integrity and data availability being compromised.”

CASA argued that changing the way its development and production systems operated was not cost effective – but agreed to implement systems to log access.

ANAO judged most of the breaches to be "moderate" in nature and noted that many of the agencies had already worked to improve IT security as a result.

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


Audit finds holes in Canberra's finance systems
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  20%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1440

Vote