State Internet servers ‘outdated and vulnerable,’ auditors find

State Archivist Edward Papenfuse (Photo by Knight Foundation on Flickr)

State Archivist Edward Papenfuse (Photo by Knight Foundation on Flickr)

The five electronic servers maintaining Internet communications for 30 different state agencies have an “outdated and vulnerable” operating system, auditors found in a report on the Maryland State Archives.

The Maryland State Archives also did not provide adequate control or records over the state’s $31 million art collection, the report by the legislative auditors released Tuesday said.

The State Archives provides IT services to more than 30 state agencies and departments, including a critical translation service for Internet domain names.

“The failure to install software patches, fixes, service packs, and upgrades that address significant vulnerabilities leaves a computer vulnerable to security exploits,” the auditors said. “If these servers were compromised and the critical translation service was disrupted or corrupted, it could adversely affect Internet communications for all State agencies using this State Archives’ service.”

The auditors did not say that any disruptions to state email accounts or websites had occurred.

In his April 10 response to the audit, State Archivist Edward Papenfuse said that “within six months” the servers would be replaced, the operating systems would be updated and security patches would be installed as they were published.

Papenfuse also said that inventory procedures would be changed to reflect the state policy manual. One issue for auditors was that the same people maintaining the collections were also keeping records and doing inventory.

The State Archives is a small agency with a budget of only $9 million, but it maintains 2,100 different collections of art. The lack of funding to maintain these art collections has been a problem for some time, according to this 2011 story.

-Len Lazarick    

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

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