26 September 2023

Auditor finds holes in computer controls

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An audit of computer controls in the Western Australian Public Sector has found the level of compliance remains of concern, with only 50 per cent of entities meeting the Auditor General’s benchmark.

In her Report, Information Systems Audit Report 2022 – State Government Entities, Auditor General, Caroline Spencer said while it was promising to see that more State entities had met a benchmark in all six general computer control categories, many more continued to have poor controls over information security.

“This year’s audits also show many entities are still not addressing audit findings quickly, with nearly half of all our findings previously reported,” Ms Spencer said.

“Global trends show more organisations are experiencing information security and cyber-security attacks and Government entities are not immune to these attacks as they deliver key services and hold valuable citizen data,” she said.

Ms Spencer said as internal and external threats continued to evolve, it was important that entities constantly improved the key controls that protected their information systems and IT environments from information security and cyber-security risks.

“Effective general computer controls support entities to achieve their objectives and defend against information systems’ compromise and data breaches,” she said.

“I encourage entities to take note of the recommendations in this Report as they work to improve their general computer controls, ensuring information security remains a heightened area of focus.”

Ms Spencer said without constant effort, entities would go backwards in their security environment, exposing their systems, their operations and citizen data to harm.

The audit team was Aloha Morrissey, Kamran Aslam, Paul Tilbrook, Fareed Bakhsh, Michael Chumak, Ben Goodwin, Khubaib Gondal, Reshma Vikas, Sayem Chowdhury, Svetla Alphonso, Ghulam Wahid, Tuck Owyong, Izak de Vries and Xuan Ong.

The 21-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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