Since 2001, FEMA provided first responder organizations with more than $9 billion through the AFG and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) programs. According to FEMA, it began using the eGrants system in 2003 to manage the funds awarded through these programs. However, the eGrants system does not comply with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) information system security requirements. Specifically, access to the eGrants system is not controlled or limited because FEMA instructs grantees to share usernames and passwords within the grantee’s organization and with contractors who manage grants. As a result, someone other than the primary point of contact can take action or make changes in eGrants without the grantee’s knowledge. Additionally, in June 2014, DHS’s Office of Cyber Security advised FEMA it should not authorize eGrants to operate because it poses an unacceptable level of risk to the agency. FEMA’s Chief Information Officer acknowledged the high level of risk posed by system deficiencies and vulnerabilities. Despite the known system deficiencies and risks, FEMA authorized the continued use of the system.
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