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DHS Needs to Enhance Efforts to Improve and Promote the Security of Federal and Private-Sector Networks

In recent years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has acted to improve and promote the cybersecurity of federal and private-sector computer
systems and networks, but further improvements are needed. Specifically, consistent with its statutory authorities, DHS has made important progress in
implementing programs and activities that are intended to mitigate cybersecurity risks on the computer systems and networks supporting federal operations and our nation’s critical infrastructure. For example, the department has:

• provided limited intrusion detection and prevention capabilities to entities across the federal government;
• issued cybersecurity related binding operational directives to federal agencies;
• served as the federal-civilian interface for sharing cybersecurity related information with federal and nonfederal entities;
• promoted the use of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity; and
• partially assessed its cybersecurity workforce.

Nevertheless, the department has not taken sufficient actions to ensure that it successfully mitigates cybersecurity risks on federal and private-sector computer
systems and networks. For example, GAO reported in 2016 that DHS’s National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS) had only partially met its stated system
objectives of detecting and preventing intrusions, analyzing malicious content, and sharing information. GAO recommended that DHS enhance capabilities,
improve planning, and support greater adoption of NCPS.

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