Missing Top Secret Disks Actually Just A Computer Bug

from the whoooops dept

Remember those well publicized “missing” top secret hard drives from Los Alamos? The same missing drives that had the FBI threatening to arrest a novelty store owner? Turns out they might not have been missing after all. In fact, the entire mess is being chalked up to a computer glitch in their inventory system that declared a “false positive” suggesting the drivers were missing when they weren’t. You would think, given the seriousness of such a situation that any inventory system would have some sort of immediate manual method for checking on the actual drives the second the system sounds the “uh oh, something’s missing” alarm. Apparently not. Of course, this brings up the second question. If the drives have really been safely at home this whole time, why didn’t anyone bother to check there in the first place?

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Comments on “Missing Top Secret Disks Actually Just A Computer Bug”

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aNonMooseCowherd says:

serial numbers?

This doesn’t make much sense. Normally property records for this kind of product include a serial number for each item along with its property tag number, manufacturer, part number, and a brief description. The article doesn’t say whether the property records listed any serial numbers and part numbers. If not, then it should have been obvious that the extra bar code labels didn’t correspond to any actual property. If there were serial numbers, it should be possible to (1) make sure those same serial numberes don’t show up elsewhere in the system and (2) ask the disk manufacturer to verify that those numbers are valid for the listed part numbers.

It sounds like the author of the article didn’t bother asking any of these questions.

zgatt (user link) says:

think a little harder

If you have a library book record in a library database, and you can’t find the book, what do you do? How do you manually check to determine that it never existed?

It’s the worst-case inventory problem — how do you prove that something listed in your inventory records never existed?

The only thing you can complain about how the heck does a false record get accidentally created in the first place? Well, I’m sure with a little work you can figure out countless scenarios: software glitch, user clicking twice, etc.

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