I watched this program this past Tuesday and I noticed Slashdot and some other vetted link-sharing websites are picking up on it too. My own feeling about this is it’s bad form for any government contractor to allow their computers to fall into the hands of anyone outside their own IT organization. If the folks that manage and audit the computers cannot encrypt, wipe or destroy hard drives on their computers, they need to be fired. It’s that simple. I’m sure some manager felt that the computers they were managing didn’t need top secret level procedures performed on them when they were de-aquisitioned and ‘recycled’. But who knows what little details are swimming around in those Word documents (stuff like the revision controls for instance). Too often everyone who manages computers lives by the dictum, “Do the absolute minimum necessary.” But no one even imagines what ‘could’ happen later on, like having your computer wind up in Ghana. It proves anything can happen and you should treat every Hard Drive like it needed to have the Top Secret procedures performed on it before it’s taken off your property list.
Thats particularly a problem in a place like Ghana, which is listed by the U.S. State Department as one of the top sources of cyber crime in the world. And its not just individuals who are exposed. One of the drives the team has purchased contains a $22 million government contract.It turns out the drive came from Northrop Grumman, one of Americas largest military contractors. And it contains details about sensitive, multi-million dollar U.S. government contracts. They also find contracts with the defense intelligence agency, NASA, even Homeland Security.When the drives’ data are shown to James Durie, who works on data security for the FBI, hes particularly concerned about the potential breach at the Transportation Security Administration TSA.