[ISN] Interior asked to disconnect office

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Jul 02 2002 - 02:38:34 PDT

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    By Megan Lisagor 
    July 1, 2002
    Here they go again.
    Plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit have asked a federal judge to
    disconnect the Office of Surface Mining from the Internet - for the
    second time.
    U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth pulled the plug on the Interior
    Department's Web sites in December to protect data maintained under
    its Trust Asset and Accounting Management System, citing a report that
    showed hackers could easily breach the system.
    The OSM Web site went back online nearly two months later with many
    more Interior agencies, including the National Park Service, following
    But that was then.
    "Contemnors again have placed individual Indian trust data at imminent
    risk of loss, corruption, deletion or unlawful manipulation because
    OSM systems are connected to the Internet and security is inadequate,"  
    attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote in an introduction to an emergency
    motion filed June 27.
    OSM officials declined to comment.
    Interior has held American Indian-owned lands in trust for more than
    100 years, leasing the properties and processing revenue earned from
    farming and drilling. A group of beneficiaries filed a class action
    lawsuit in 1996, claiming that poor bookkeeping has prevented
    landowners and their descendants from determining their account
    balances. They estimate as much as $10 billion in lost or missing
    Their motion comes only one day after a joint Interior/tribal leader
    task force briefed the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on the
    progress it has made toward reaching consensus on a solution to trust
    Despite the positive tone of the hearing, lead plaintiff Eloise Cobell
    said problems remain. Cobell has asked the court to place individual
    trust accounts in receivership out of Interior's control. A decision
    is pending.
    "We need the experts that a receiver would bring in" to fix the
    computer systems, she said. "I think that the entire firewall and
    access [issue] has not been refined [to] where we feel we can trust
    the inability of hackers to get in."
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