VA Computers Remain Unencrypted, Years After Breach
Report faults IT managers for six-year delay in adopting security measures
Following a high-profile data breach six years ago, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spent almost $6 million on encryption software for its PCs and laptops. But an investigation by the department's inspector general determined that the encryption software has been installed on only 16% of its computers.
In the spring of 2006, an unencrypted external hard drive with personal information on 26 million veterans was stolen from the home of a VA employee. The department was forced to notify veterans and provide credit monitoring, at a cost of $20 million. In response to the security lapse, VA secretary James Nicholson mandated that all of the department's PCs and laptops be protected by encryption software.
The VA, in a deal with federal contractor Systems Made Simple, spent $2.4 million in 2006 for 300,000 licenses of GuardianEdge encryption software. The department spent an additional $1.2 million between 2007 and 2011 on maintenance agreements for 300,000 licenses, plus $2.3 million in 2011 for additional licenses and a two-year extended maintenance agreement. GuardianEdge was acquired by Symantec in 2010....