Feeds

Two teens charged over VA laptop theft

Relax. It's just random

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Two US teenagers were arrested last weekend for stealing a Veterans' Administration laptop, an incident that proved a major security flap and brought calls for improved information security legislation.

A thief stole the laptop from the Virginia home of a worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) during the course of a burglary in early May. At the time, VA officials were quick to blame the data analyst involved for violating agency policy in taking the laptop home. However, it has since emerged that the worker, who was placed on administrative leave during the course of an inquiry, had written permission to take the sensitive data away from VA offices in order to work from home.

Information held on the laptop included the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of approximately 26.5m former and acting US servicemen and women dating back to 1975. VA officials went public to warn veterans of the incident. FBI and local law enforcement officials were involved in investigating the security breach.

The laptop and its hard drive ended up for sale on a "black market" near a subway station near Wheaton outside of Washington DC and returned to the authorities by an unidentified woman at the end of June. A preliminary investigation by FBI officials suggests that data has not been accessed since the laptop was stolen, easing fears that the exposed data might have fallen into the hands of identity thieves.

A phone tip-off led to the arrest on Saturday of two suspects, both from Rockville, Maryland: Christian Brian Montano, 19, and Jesus Alex Pineda, 19. Each faces burglary and theft charges, the AP reports. An unnamed male suspect also faces possible charges over the alleged theft, which police describe as a random burglary not motivated by thoughts of profiting from identity theft. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.