FBI Gets Back Veterans Data Laptop; Claims No One Accessed It

from the all-clear? dept

After all of the coverage concerning the laptop and hard drive stolen from a Veterans Affairs employee’s home, the FBI is now claiming that it has recovered the system, and based on their checks, it appears that the data was never accessed. All along, many people figured this was the work of a random burglar who had no clue what was on the laptop — and this recovery suggests that may have been correct. However, the FBI admits that no one is in custody, after an anonymous person they don’t believe was involved turned in the machine. Of course, rather than taking the FBI’s word for it, I’d imagine most people whose data is in the database would feel better with some credit monitoring.

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Comments on “FBI Gets Back Veterans Data Laptop; Claims No One Accessed It”

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Nova Lounge (user link) says:

No mention of the CDs?

Just an observation – much of the orignal coverage about the theft also said that there were data CDs which contained the master data being used on the notebook. No mention of recovery there. And of course, since cds are read-only, there’s way to tell if they’d been accessed… if they were recovered. (shrug). As a vet, I’m not feeling any better about this.

Jeff says:

trade you for an eighth dude...

The laptop was prolly traded for some weed and the guy who had it, forgot he had it. It took the FBI a few weeks to identify what happened and a few hours to beat the supplier’s address out of little Johnny.

Or maybe bad guys took it and realized that Vets are all underpaid low wage earning Americans that have crappy credit. 🙁

Adam says:


There’s a problem with that. If we start assuming that that’s what happened, then we have to assume that whoever stole it in the first place knew what they had. And then the government might be liable for something. This way is much better: the government can start spending money protecting us, thus generating good will before all those projects get quietly shut down; the vets can feel a little better that they really dodged a bullet there, and might not waste some of the little time they have left (in some cases) keeping track of their credit; and the thieves get to have a shopping spree. Everybody wins.

dudhaaaa says:


“…copying data off of hard drives without modifiying them” – Helix, FTX, Sleuthkit, EnCase(if you got $$$), etc. Hopefully, this was done by some DumbA*s or DumbA*s’s and not someone who has a clue; but, if I was one of those names on the drive, I’d definitly sign up for some credit reporting!

Brian says:


Hell, just boot using a LiveCD and send the data out the network port. Even if it were formatted in NTFS, if you know what you are doing you can mount it as RO (Read-Only) and never leave a trace on the HD. You don’t always have to use tools such as Encase or remove the drive from the PC/Laptop to do a forensic copy/analysis. All it takes is a little thought and the right toolset.

Despite the FBI assertions this does not give me any warm fuzzies. I’m still waiting for that damn letter on how to activate credit monitoring.

R Ahrens says:

easy copying

Yeah, an unencrypted HD is easy to copy – all ya need is a copy of ghost. In less than an hour, you’ve got it all. restore it to another HD, and you can access it all you want, and the original is essentially untouched.

That said, being one of those vets, I definately want the gov’t to step up here and help us get free credit reports (one per month would be nice) to just be sure.

Of course, they could be right and it was just some stupid punk looking for drug money – but they don’t know who he sold it to, do they…

Anonymous Coward says:

For all the vets whining about credit reports being supplied, thats all BS, Gimme gimme gimme….

Simply call the three major reporting agencies, or write them. Explain you are a vet and your data may have been compromised and request a fraud alert be placed on your account. They all send you a report for review, and your account is essentially frozen for a period of time. You stop getting all those pesky credit card offers for that period also!

Anonymous Coward says:

Notice that the article say that the FBI plans “more tests”. Why? If they can truely tell that that the data has not been accesed, than there should be no need for “more tests”. The fact is, is probably impossible to tell if the data was accessed. Since when did the FBI get into the business of helping to cover up crime?

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