[ISN] Still a disconnect at Interior

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Mon Nov 11 2002 - 23:03:04 PST

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    By Megan Lisagor 
    Nov. 11, 2002
    About 6 percent of the Interior Department's computer systems remain
    disconnected from the Internet, 11 months after a federal judge
    ordered a departmentwide shutdown citing security concerns, according
    to a Nov. 1 Interior report.
    Most of the systems support the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the
    Office of the Special Trustee, agencies that rely on information
    technology to fulfill the department's trust fund duties.
    "The relative security and integrity of DOI's computer systems is
    gradually improving," Interior officials said in their 11th status
    report to the court, one in a series of updates required by U.S.  
    District Judge Royce Lamberth.
    This reporting period, July 1 through Sept. 30, saw little increase in
    Internet connectivity - a fact attributed to procurement and
    reconfiguration needs.
    The department has awarded several contracts in recent months to
    vendors, including IBM Corp. and Zantaz Inc., aimed at bolstering
    information security. WorldCom Inc., meanwhile, has finished the
    technical design for TrustNet, a new secure network for Indian trust
    data. Testing and approval is pending fiscal 2003 funding.
    Interior has held American Indian-owned lands in trust for more than
    100 years, leasing the properties and processing revenue earned from
    farming, drilling and other exploits. 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. The plaintiffs estimate as much as $10 billion is
    lost or missing.
    In September, Lamberth held Interior Secretary Gale Norton and
    Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Neal McCaleb in contempt,
    finding them "unfit trustee delegates." Interior officials must submit
    a revised strategy for trust reform to the U.S. court by Jan. 6, 2003.  
    The trial resumes May 1, 2003. In the interim, the department has been
    assessing what systems exist so it can develop a comprehensive
    business model.
    "System design is no longer centered on one all-encompassing asset
    management system," Interior officials wrote. "What is required is a
    series of software applications focusing on each aspect of the trust
    business. The goal of Indian trust systems is to integrate the
    separate applications into comprehensive software architecture that
    share necessary information across all applications to accomplish
    trust reform. The requirements and architectures will determine
    whether existing systems and technology should be used, integrated or
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