Feeds

TSA: We're not saying our hard drive is gone but...

It's just not here anymore

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The universe has an odd tendency to absorb certain objects into the oblivion of un-existence. Television remotes, single socks, car keys, lighters, external hard drives containing 100,000 employee records, pen caps; they all come and go like tiny dimensional travelers.

And such is the order of things that missing socks and lighter go largely unreported in the media — bees in our bonnet though they may be.

But the minute the Transportation Security Administration loses a hard drive containing the names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, payroll information, bank account and routing information of 100,000 people employed at the agency between January 2002 and August 2005, there's suddenly a big fuss.

On May 3, the TSA discovered the drive was missing from a controlled area at the Headquarters Office of Human Capital. The agency immediately reported the incident to law enforcement officials, the Department of Homeland Security and launched into an investigation.

Did it fall behind the desk? No.

Did Jim take it home to transfer his Phil Collins music collection to his desktop? No.

Maybe check behind the desk again?

The investigation hit a brick wall. By Friday night, it was time to fess up with a statement. The TSA doesn't know whether the device is still within headquarters or was stolen. It has found no evidence an unauthorized individual is using the personal information.

TSA is a division of the Homeland Security Department, responsible for the safety of the US transportation system, including airports and train stations.

They are unsure whether the data was encrypted or not. The TSA is investigating to see if proper data security procedures were followed. The agency pledges disciplinary action against individuals found to be in violation of security procedures.

This is far from the first case of government hard drives phasing out of three dimensional time-space. In a similar case in January, the external hard drive of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee that contained personal data of approximately 48,000 employees went missing. A year ago this month, a VA laptop with personal details of 26.5m veterans was stolen; it was eventually turned in by a member of the public who bought it at a market.

TSA has begun to notify all affected individuals in the incident. They have also begun the process of selecting a contractor to provide one year of free credit monitoring for those with personal information in the drive. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.