Risk
8/13/2010
03:56 PM
50%
50%

VA Posts Data Breach Reports Online

Monthly updates show the different ways data has leaked out of the agency, including lost or stolen hardware and misdirected emails.

Once again showing that it's serious about transparency, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun posting reports about data breaches on its website.

The monthly reports, which the agency compiles for Congress, list different ways the VA has lost data, such as through lost hardware or misdirected emails.

For example, a report (PDF) from July 5 to Aug. 1 shows the agency lost two PCs, 13 BlackBerry devices and six laptops. It also reported 103 of so-called "mis-mailed" incidents, and 90 "mis-handling" incidents.

All of the lost laptops were encrypted, according to the report.

In the past the VA has had some major data breaches, including one in April that involved the loss of two unencrypted laptops that contained personal information about more than 600 veterans.

Another infamous data breach in 2006 involved the theft from a VA employee's home of a laptop that contained data on more than 26 million veterans. That incident spurred a Congressional review, as well as cost the agency $20 million to settle a class-action suit.

The VA is taking its data breaches seriously enough that VA CIO Roger Baker has begun monthly calls with members of the press to discuss them.

Since taking his position, Baker has made a concerted effort to improve IT operations at the VA, with data security being a major priority.

The posting of the reports also shows how far the agency has come in terms of transparency and accountability for its IT operations, which historically have been criticized for serious inefficiency.

Baker has put into effect an accountability program that flags IT projects behind schedule, over budget, or both. That program, which was recently expanded to all of the VA's IT projects, saved the agency $54 million in its fiscal-year 2010 budget.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-4440
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 generates weak non-tty passwords, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the password via a brute-force attack.

CVE-2013-4442
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 uses weak pseudo generated numbers when /dev/urandom is unavailable, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the numbers.

CVE-2014-2026
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the search functionality in United Planet Intrexx Professional before 5.2 Online Update 0905 and 6.x before 6.0 Online Update 10 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the request parameter.

CVE-2014-2716
Published: 2014-12-19
Ekahau B4 staff badge tag 5.7 with firmware 1.4.52, Real-Time Location System (RTLS) Controller 6.0.5-FINAL, and Activator 3 reuses the RC4 cipher stream, which makes it easier for remote attackers to obtain plaintext messages via an XOR operation on two ciphertexts.

CVE-2014-5212
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in nds/search/data in iMonitor in Novell eDirectory before 8.8 SP8 Patch 4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the rdn parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.