October 20, 2021
FMCSA’s IT Infrastructure Is at Risk of Compromise
What We Looked At
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates and oversees the safety of commercial motor vehicles. It partners with other agencies and the motor carrier industry to conduct this work. The Agency uses 13 web-based applications to aid vehicle registration, inspections, and other activities. Many of FMCSA’s information systems contain sensitive data, including personally identifiable information (PII). Due to the importance of FMCSA’s programs to the transportation system and sensitivity of some Agency information, we conducted this audit of FMCSA’s information technology (IT) infrastructure. Our objective was to determine whether FMCSA’s IT infrastructure contains security weaknesses that could compromise the Agency’s systems and data.
What We Found
We found vulnerabilities in several Agency web servers that allowed us to gain unauthorized access to FMCSA’s network. FMCSA did not detect our access or placement of malware on the network in part because it did not use required automated detection tools and malicious code protections. We also gained access to 13.6 million unencrypted PII records. Had malicious hackers obtained this PII, it could have cost FMCSA up to $570 million in credit monitoring fees. Furthermore, the Agency does not always remediate vulnerabilities as quickly as DOT policy requires. These weaknesses put FMCSA’s network and data at risk for unauthorized access and compromise.
FMCSA concurred with our 13 recommendations. We consider all 13 recommendations resolved but open pending FMCSA’s completion of planned actions.
Sensitive information exempt from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, has been redacted and we have marked the document as FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.