[ISN] IG: Better security needed for key Coast Guard database

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Wed Sep 28 00:47:34 EDT 2005

Forwarded from: William Knowles <wk at c4i.org>


By Alice Lipowicz
Staff Writer

The Coast Guard does not have adequate database security controls for
its Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) system,
which contains sensitive but unclassified information for Coast Guard
missions, according to a new report [1] from Homeland Security
Department Inspector General Richard Skinner.

MISLE is a Web-based database system used to track marine safety and 
law-enforcement activities involving commercial and recreational 
vessels. It contains information on Coast Guard waterway details, 
vessel and facility inspection information and incident investigation. 
The Vessel Documentation System, which tracks vessel ownership, also 
is accessible to personnel using the MISLE. 

Although the Coast Guard has implemented many controls for the system, 
it has not established effective procedures for monitoring user 
access, nor has it developed an adequate IT contingency plan, the 
report said. Furthermore, there are vulnerabilities on Coast Guard 
database servers related to access rights, password administration, 
configuration management and encryption. 

"Due to these database security exposures, there is an increased risk 
that unauthorized individuals could gain access to critical Coast 
Guard database resources and compromise the confidentiality, integrity 
and availability of sensitive MISLE data," the report stated. "In 
addition, the Coast Guard may not be able to recover MISLE following a 

The inspector general recommended the Coast Guard implement adequate 
controls and develop an IT contingency plan for the system, and apply 
corrective actions to all other databases as well. Coast Guard 
officials, in their response, agreed with most of the findings and 

[1] http://www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/OIGr_05-31_Aug05.pdf

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