Morning Security Brief: Stolen Art, U.S. Infrastructure, and IT Security at the IRS

By Holly Gilbert

►RFI English reports that the French government is set to return seven works of art stolen from Jewish families during Adolf Hitler’s reign in Germany. The paintings landed in museum collections around France after World War II ended. Six of the paintings, which date back to the 1700s, will be returned to Thomas Selldorff, and a seventh to the family of Josef Weiner. RFI says an estimated 2,000 stolen paintings are still awaiting identification.

►According to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, investments to improve U.S. infrastructure by 2020 fall short by $1.6 trillion. The report, covered this morning by Bloomberg, says that $3.6 trillion more must be spent in order to put the nation’s critical infrastructure in a state of “good repair.” President Obama most recently called for infrastructural improvements to ground transportation, schools, and airports in his annual speech to Congress in January.  Aging, congested airport facilities pose a particular problem to the economy – they cost the U.S. around $22 billion in 2012, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts that the cost of delays will rise to $63 billion by 2040 should federal funding levels remain the same. 

►An audit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found the agency has stronger IT security in place than it did last year, FCW reports. Among its improvements, the IRS has strengthened the encryption of transferred data between accounting systems, as well as successfully upgrading critical devices on its internal networking system. However the GAO says the agency reportedly failed to install up-to-date patches against known vulnerabilities, and certain servers still lack a secure password system to identify and authenticate users.


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