Computers that Walk out of the Door
The number of computers missing from Los Alamos ranges from 70 to "almost" 100. In reality, the actual number of machines doesn't mean as much as the lax security that allows this to happen at one of our Nation's nuclear laboratories.
It starts with a theft in January:
The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) , a watchdog group, Wednesday released a memo from the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) expressing concern over the theft of three computers from the home of an employee at Los Alamos National Security LLC (LANS) in January.
Apparently in follow-up investigations, as many as 67 computers were unaccounted for.
The watchdog group POGO (Project On Government Oversight) disclosed on Feb. 11 a memo from the Department of Energy's NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) (PDF) sharply critical of security at Los Alamos, particularly regarding a failure to treat lost computers as a cyber-security issue.
The issue of course is not whether the missing computers actually had sensitive or classified material on their hard drives, but the apparent lack of security and oversight of the computers from Los Alamos. This is not the first time that Los Alamos has had a security breach of this type. The Department of Energy lodged multi-million dollar fines against Los Alamos in 2007.
Considering the budget cuts that are rumored to be on the blocks for the Department of Energy Labs, and the possible merger (actually blending) of certain labs, it is surprising that security lapses like this would occur. At best, it is embarrassing.