[ISN] Los Alamos vulnerable to PC theft, inspector general declares

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Aug 13 13:00:38 EDT 2004

Forwarded from: "Michael J. Reeves, AA, ASc" <NoSPAM.michaeljreeves at sbcglobal.net>


By Sarita Chourey 
Aug. 12, 2004

The Energy Department's Los Alamos National Laboratory is vulnerable
to loss and theft of personal computers, the agency's inspector
general found.

Some classified desktop computers were not properly inventoried, and
employees did not give required notification of a missing part of a
computer, according to a report released today by the inspector
general. The lab's listing of classified computers was inaccurate and
identification and accreditation paperwork was in disarray, the report

Agency officials agreed with the findings.

But they are working to remedy the chronic security weaknesses and
classified media mismanagement. In May, Energy Secretary Spencer
Abraham renewed efforts to tighten security by announcing a host of
reforms, including a goal of converting many computers with classified
data into disk-free stations in five years.

At the end of fiscal 2002, Los Alamos officials said the lab had about
5,000 laptops and 40,000 desktop computers.

Energy officials have halted all classified activity until concerns
about computer security, which have persistently dogged the agency,
are resolved.

"People who believe their dedication to science or to our mission
supersedes our commitment to safety, security and environmental
compliance put us all at risk," wrote Peter Nanos, the lab's director,
in an internal memo issued last month after a recent flap over missing
pieces of classified removable electronic media.

Today's report follows an April interim report that found management
to be unaccountable for laptops.

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