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Print 23 comment(s) - last by therealnickdan.. on Aug 8 at 2:09 PM

The theft of the laptop has led to Congress researching legislation that would aim to improve information security

News reports in late May stated that thieves had stolen a laptop containing the personal data of 26.5 million veterans from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee in Virginia.  The unencrypted names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of almost 20 million veterans and active-duty military along with with almost 7 million other service members were on the laptop.  The data on the laptop was not compromised by the people responsible for stealing it, according to the FBI last month.  The laptop was turned in by an unidentified woman at the end of June -- details on how she came into possession of the laptop were never reported.

Christian Brian Montano, 19, and Jesus Alex Pineda, 19, were arrested early on Saturday in connection with the theft.  Montano has been charged with first degree burglary, theft over $500, conspiracy to commit burglary and theft, according to police authorities.  Pineda faces two charges: first degree burglary and theft over $500.  Police authorities believe the theft was "completely random," meaning that Montano and Pineda were not directly aiming to steal the laptop on which the information was stored.

The arrests occurred after a phone tip the FBI received, police authorities said.  Charges are currently pending against a male suspect who is a minor.  A bond hearing for the two already in custody could come as early as today, officials said.


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Two Teenagers Arrested for Stealing VA Laptop
By Schralper on 8/7/2006 8:25:37 AM , Rating: 2
I don't care for the boys. Why bring personal data of 26.5 million stored information outside the Department anyway?




By rushfan2006 on 8/7/2006 8:58:10 AM , Rating: 2
That's what I don't understand..why was the data on a laptop that was removed from the office in the first place.

And the seniority of the employee, IMHO, doesn't matter either. I don't care of you are Chairman of the board for a company (or whatever the equivalent would be in this case) you have no valid excuse to bring such data to your personal residence.



By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/7/2006 9:00:42 AM , Rating: 2
But people do it all the time, our company knows people do it by the truckload. Which is why next week were deploying a top level disk encryption to every single computer in the company, laptop or desktop. Won't be a problem if someone steals our laptops, can't touch it :D


By rushfan2006 on 8/7/2006 9:38:27 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you Kenobi, it is done all the time. Its a shame that - that's how it is but its true.

The company I work for is a bank and a mortgage lender, so with dealing with that kind of information we are required by law to uphold certain security and confidentiality. If just one loan file is "leaked" to parties other than which are authorized -- we can technically be fined $10,000 per file, per incedent. At our location alone there are thousands of loan files.

So...like you guys are doing...we use encryption software on all laptops issued, plus every laptop is registered with our Security and Standards department (actually every PDA and desktop is too).

We use a packaged called Credin for our encryption -- kind of a pain to trouble shoot when it screws up, but other than that it works excellent. Makes it so if a non-employee steals a laptop from one of our folks the information is of zero value to them.



RE: Two Teenagers Arrested for Stealing VA Laptop
By Crassus on 8/7/2006 9:49:39 AM , Rating: 2
One would think that government enteties handling sensitive data have similar protection schemes in place ... but apparently not.


By dagamer34 on 8/7/2006 10:07:59 AM , Rating: 3
You're assuming that the government actually cares about people. You're first mistake. :P


By therealnickdanger on 8/8/2006 2:09:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You're assuming that the government actually cares about people. You're first mistake. :P

I've been working for the (state) government for about five years now and I can say that while the majority of people that work here do care, the unions in power keep us from firing old people that can't operate or understand technology and let us hire new blood that knows the difference between a CD-ROM and a cupholder. If government were run more like a private business, you know, with actual standards and competition, then we would see much more advanced electronic security measures.

Three people in my office have 3.0GHz workstations with Quadro graphics cards and they don't even know how to copy and paste text. "Ebay loads much faster now", though. It's pathetic.

</rant>


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/7/2006 10:09:20 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, were using PGP Whole Disk Encryption. Really nice software. We locked the control panel out from the users so everything stays encrypted, permanently. Were a Federal Housing Lender aka Freddie Mac. Last time we want is to make the front page next week for a stolen laptop =/.


By MrSmurf on 8/7/2006 10:15:31 AM , Rating: 2
wow, locking the control panel (that's some high tech stuff) and they're now just encrypting their data?

So in other words, if these criminals had hit a home of you or your co-worker, it COULD have been your company as well. That's always nice to know.


RE: Two Teenagers Arrested for Stealing VA Laptop
By MrSmurf on 8/7/2006 10:11:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why bring personal data of 26.5 million stored information outside the Department anyway?

I don't know.... maybe... get some work done at home! Happens all the time but it wasn't supposed to be brought home in the first place. The employee took it home without authorization. Hopefully they were fired but employers have to have a little trust in their employees not to do such stupid things so I can't really blame the employer (which happens to be the government).


By rushfan2006 on 8/7/2006 12:42:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't know.... maybe... get some work done at home!


Thank you for solving that mystery for us. I'm sure no one understood WHY someone from work would bring a laptop home - if you hadn't.

quote:
wow, locking the control panel (that's some high tech stuff) and they're now just encrypting their data?


Wow...you are one sarcastic ill-tempered person today aren't you?

Someone piss in your coffee or something? Or do you just personally carry grudges for all eternity with folks you may have had disagreements with in the past?

Sometimes obvious solutions in large corporations are slowly adopted, despite them being "common sense" approaches to an identified problem, because of the office politics and procedures.

Heck here there was a "problem" where users weren't getting certain updates -- turns out they were clicking on "start, then shut down" and turning their PCs off at night, instead of just logging out of their account. The common sense solution --- disable the shutdown function. Took months to implement thanks to corporate PnP (Policy and Procedure).



Heh
By LittleJimi on 8/7/2006 5:38:21 AM , Rating: 5
Christian and Jesus... what a team.




RE: Heh
By Xenoid on 8/7/2006 5:52:27 AM , Rating: 3
I speculate the minor was named God.


RE: Heh
By anass on 8/7/06, Rating: -1
RE: Heh
By Sunday Ironfoot on 8/7/2006 7:59:11 AM , Rating: 3
No, I bet his name was probably Mohammed!


RE: Heh
By Viper007Bond on 8/7/2006 6:46:51 AM , Rating: 2
When their powers combine...


RE: Heh
By feelingshorter on 8/7/2006 8:12:48 AM , Rating: 2
The ultimate heist


RE: Heh
By 05SilverGT on 8/7/2006 9:08:41 AM , Rating: 1
At least it wasn't baby Jesus. If baby Jesus did this who would us Christians pray to?


RE: Heh
By ShizNet on 8/7/2006 5:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
new discoveries, name has been revealed... for almost 2000 years
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_Iscariot


The Name Game
By Creig on 8/7/2006 7:56:42 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously, just naming your children after a good role model isn't enough these days.




RE: The Name Game
By retrospooty on 8/7/2006 10:14:03 AM , Rating: 1
or... the moral values thought by strong christian beleif are weak. ;)

for reference see: The history of mankind (or at least the past 2000 year LOL)


Let's Ponder...
By anass on 8/7/06, Rating: -1
Moderated
By anass on 8/7/06, Rating: -1
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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