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Feds' Edict To Encrypt Hard Drives Gets -- You Guessed It -- Ignored

from the surprise! dept

Back in May, the Transportation Security Administration did its best to gloss over the fact that it lost a hard drive containing personal information on some 100,000 of its employees by putting out a press release about it at 7 o'clock on a Friday evening. Now, a few months later, it's disclosed that the drive wasn't encrypted (via Threat Level), in contravention of a White House order from last summer saying that all devices containing personal data need to be encrypted if they're taken outside secure areas. As we've noted, these sorts of edicts and guidelines are meaningless unless they're actually followed, and non-compliance brings real repercussions.

Filed Under: data breaches, identity theft
Companies: tsa

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  1. identicon
    Brian, 17 Jul 2007 @ 7:05pm

    not as easy as it sounds

    Those who will say funding is irrelevant have never worked in IT. Cost is only a small problem tho.

    I am a civilian contractor for the Navy, and we've been encrypting our laptops since last summer. They jumped right in with zero thought given to the consequences, and now security is WORSE.

    First, we're talking volume encryption (it's pointless if you can mount the drive in linux and bypass the free crap suggested above), and I've never seen a free solution that easily lets you boot into XP with a fully encrypted HD. The options that do are actually pretty dangerous from my experience. The ATA standard makes allowances for bad sectors, etc, and the encryption breaks that - at least to the point where it would take 2 years for an emergency decryption. Oh yeah, warranties don't cover a HD that died due to a bad sector + encryption... Free?

    Long story short, word has gotten around that if you have even a minor HD problem, your data is gone forever. So now we're fighting users who "back up" their data on unencrypted, personal USB devices. Turns out those things are FAR more easily/likely to be lost and/or stolen.

    It's a joke - however I blame most of the problem on the lack of user education. Zero training is offered on any of this crap.

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