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Federal agencies leasing in foreign owned buildings may cause cyberespionage risks

Several federal agencies may be at risk of cyberespionage as a result of leasing space in foreign-owned buildings, a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found.

The report found at least 25 different offices used by the agencies including FBI, Department of Justice, State Department, Social Security Administration, Homeland Security – U.S. Secret Service, and Treasury Department rent space in buildings with whom the nationality of a building's beneficial owner is not a U.S. citizen, according to the report.

In addition to sensitive information systems, the facilities also contained weapons, evidence, data centers, and were used for classified operations.

The GAO's reported its findings to the agencies that were potentially at risk and recommended the agencies “determine whether the beneficial owner of high-security space that GSA leases is a foreign entity and, if so, share that information with the tenant agencies so they can adequately assess and mitigate any security risks.”

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