• United States



by Dave Gradijan

Stolen VA Laptop Data May Have Been Erased

Jun 09, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary James Nicholson told the House Government Reform Committee that thieves may have erased the personal data of millions of veterans that was on the stolen laptop, reports.

Nicholson told the committee he thinks that’s the burglars’ modus operandi. The article states that he said the burglars in this case may have been the same ones who committed similar burglaries in the area, and the information on the computers was quickly erased and the units resold.

“Authorities think their M.O. is to take these things—clean them up, actually—erase them and fence them into a market for college campuses and high schools,” Nicholson told lawmakers. CNN reports he admitted authorities could not be certain that was the case with the VA laptop.

According to CNN, Nicholson told Congress that authorities have apprehended some suspects and recovered some computer equipment, but not the VA laptop, and the incident has led to calls for reform in the VA.

Some committee members were unimpressed, CNN reports. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, chastised Nicholson for blaming a single employee and a culture at his agency, saying, “That doesn’t sound like we’re getting to the heart of this with passing the buck.”

And Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, forcefully stated his belief that the scope of the loss indicates serious problems on many levels.

For more information, read Data Theft at the VA.

Keep checking in at our Security Feed page, or subscribe via RSS, for updated news coverage.

Compiled by Paul Kerstein